(ATR) More than 40,000 ticketholders for the Tokyo 2020 soccer final at Yokohoma Stadium will need to be significantly reduced to just 10,000 through a second lottery, a glaring example of the challenges organizers face sorting out a massive ticket reduction and refunding procedure.
The five parties decided on Monday on a cap of 10,000 spectators or a maximum of 50 percent capacity at all Tokyo Games venues to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
"Within that limit, we want to maximize the number of people we can invite to the venues, but because of the new limitation set in place some of the sessions have already sold tickets which is beyond the number of the spectator capacity limit," said Tokyo 2020 vice director general Masaaki Komaya.
"We have to give up implementation of some of functions around the ticket sales caused by COVID-19 and it is a very big inconvenience that we are causing for the people and stakeholders," he said. "Some of you, because of the second lottery, may lose your ticket so our deepest apologies."
Tickets will need to be reduced at sessions for athletics, baseball/softball, soccer, golf, modern pentathlon, rugby, surfing and for both the opening and closing ceremonies.
Tokyo 2020 officials noted that stakeholders tickets will not be cancelled, however numbers have already been significantly reduced considering the large reduction of international visitors coming to the Games. Stakeholder tickets were initially at 1.7 million tickets, a figure that has been reduced to just over 500,000 total. The total number of stakeholder tickets for the opening ceremony was not disclosed.
Hidenori Suzuki, the Tokyo 2020 senior director of ticketing, provided further details on the complicated procedure of cancelling and refunding tickets as well as the strategy for executing the second lottery during a Tokyo 2020 news conference on Wednesday.
Suzuki informed that 4.48 million tickets had been sold, a number that has already been reduced by 840,000 due to voluntary cancellations. Of the 3,640,000 current tickets, an additional 910,000 will need to be reduced. In addition, he noted that of 750 event sessions, only slightly more than 10 percent are affected by the required reduction.
"We will do lottery on certain sessions and also we will change the method of ticket issuance," Suzuki said.
Results of the second ticket lottery are planned to be revealed on July 6. For those possessing tickets that come up short in the lottery, the Tokyo 2020 website will inform that they are now invalid and the refunding process will begin.
Suzuki noted that the second lottery will need to occur before any tickets are refunded.
"Considering the overall schedule and the announcement of the ticket handling, this has to be the schedule otherwise we cannot deliver the tickets on time, so I’d like to ask for your understanding" Suzuki said.
"All the tickets sold at the official ticketing site will be changed to home print PDF format," the Japanese official added.
Tickets will not be sold at venues or any sales sites in Tokyo. Additionally, a postcard lottery has also been cancelled.
"For Paralympic tickets we are still working on the details and we will continue to monitor the venue capacity limit for the Paralympic Games," Suzuki noted.
If there will be additional sales for the Paralympics, they will be web based through the official site.
Countermeasures implemented include controlling flows of spectators, in addition to behavioral guidelines such as masks being mandatory inside of venues. Shouting, whistling and vociferous cheering are disallowed at events. Spectators are also advised to return home directly after attending competitions and refrain from congregating in bars and restaurants.
"We need the support, help and understanding from the spectators," Suzuki said.
International spectators were barred from attending the Tokyo 2020 Games in March.
Written and reported by Brian Pinelli
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