FIFA President Gianni Infantino backs IOC over hosting Olympics in Tokyo

His comments came a few days after IOC vice-president John Coates said that Tokyo would host The Games despite there being an emergency.

Gianni Infantino in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)
By Nilavro Ghosh | May 22, 2021 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

FIFA President Gianni Infantino declared his support for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hosting the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year. This is despite the city being in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. Japan has struggled to contain the spread of the virus for quite a while now. This has resulted in the government announcing a state of emergency for nine prefectures. Tokyo is one of the worst pandemic-hit cities presently. Several polls have shown that the majority of the locals are against hosting the Olympics at this point in time.

However, the chief of football’s ruling body does not share that view. Infantino said that the beautiful game has always held a special place in the culture of the Olympics. In factm the first football matches are played before the opening ceremony due to the sheer number of matches. His comments came a few days after IOC vice-president John Coates said that Tokyo would host The Games. This is despite there being a state of emergency and overwhelmingly negative local feedback.

“Of course we are following the situation in Japan very, very closely. We have two tournaments, the men’s and women’s,” Infantino said. “We are all reading and we are seeing what is happening and we are feeling the tension. But I agree with (IOC president) Thomas Bach when he says the Olympics, like football World Cups, are special,” he added.

Olympics a good distraction for people: Gianni Infantino

Gianni Infantino is also of the belief that The Games would be a distraction for the millions who have been having a rough time due to the current scenario with the pandemic.

“And once they start, they will give people a bit of a distraction, which is not bad in this period. There will be athletes from all over the world and many countries have chances to win medals. We are fully supportive of the Olympics in Tokyo and the Olympic Games being held in a safe and secure environment,” he said.

“As we know, there are certain restrictions and we are not happy but we understand and comply and are looking forward to the Olympic Games. Especially the start of the Olympics because then all the polemics will stop and we can focus on the sports. Football starts before the opening ceremony, and it’s football first when it comes to the Olympics,” he concluded.