Half of Tokyo res­i­dents op­pose Olympics in 2021: Poll

Iran Daily - - Sports -

Just over half of Tokyo’s res­i­dents don’t think the post­poned 2020 Olympics should be held next year, back­ing ei­ther a fur­ther de­lay or out­right cance­la­tion be­cause of fears over the coro­n­avirus, ac­cord­ing to a poll pub­lished Mon­day.

The sur­vey car­ried out by two Ja­panese news or­ga­ni­za­tions is only a sin­gle data point, but comes af­ter health ex­perts warned that even a year’s de­lay may not be suf­fi­cient to hold the Games safely, AFP re­ported.

The poll con­ducted over the week­end found 51.7 per­cent of re­spon­dents hope the Games in 2021 are post­poned again or can­celed, while 46.3 per­cent want to see the resched­uled Olympics go ahead.

Among those op­posed to a 2021 Games, 27.7 per­cent said they want them can­celed al­to­gether, while 24 per­cent would

For­mer Barcelona great Xavi Her­nan­dez said he hopes to re­turn to the Span­ish club as head coach when the tim­ing is right and that his tech­ni­cal team is al­ready pre­par­ing for it.

Span­ish me­dia had re­ported that Xavi, who coaches Qatari club Al Sadd, had been ap­proached by Barca to re­place Ernesto Valverde be­fore Quique Setien was ap­pointed in Jan­uary, Reuters re­ported.

Barca is two points be­hind leader Real Madrid with six matches re­main­ing in the cam­paign.

“The big­gest hope I have now is to be Barca coach and get Barca back to win­ning ways,” Span­ish daily Sport quoted Xavi as say­ing in a video call where the 40-year-old out­lined his plans for the fu­ture.

Xavi said he hoped to be­gin from scratch if he took over.

“I’m a club man. I would like to re­turn at the right mo­ment to start a project from zero. I’ve said it a lot of times but I want pre­fer a sec­ond post­pone­ment.

The tele­phone poll, con­ducted by Ky­odo News and Tokyo MX tele­vi­sion from June 26-28, re­ceived 1,030 replies.

Of those who said they want to see the Games held next year, 31.1 per­cent said the event should be in a scaled-back form, in­clud­ing with­out spec­ta­tors, while 15.2 per­cent said they wanted to see a full-blown Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 was post­poned in March as the coro­n­avirus spread across the globe, caus­ing the worst dis­rup­tion to the Olympics since two edi­tions were can­celed dur­ing World War II.

The Games are now sched­uled to be­gin on July 23, 2021, although they will still be known as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Of­fi­cials from Ja­pan and the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee have warned it will not be to take foot­balling de­ci­sions at Barcelona,” he added.

“It’s clear that af­ter the elec­tions the stage would be set, of course. I’m not rul­ing any­thing out.

“They came for me in Jan­uary, we were speak­ing. I told them the cir­cum­stances and tim­ing weren’t right.”

‘Ran­dom in­ci­dents’

Mean­while, Barcelona coach Setien said he does not al­ways see eye-to-eye with his squad as their La Liga ti­tle bid threat­ens to un­ravel fol­low­ing Satur­day’s 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo.

Barca faces a gru­el­ing match at home to third-placed Atletico Madrid to­day which it needs to win to stay in close con­tention in the ti­tle race.

“It’s true that you of­ten have ar­gu­ments with play­ers as you do in ev­ery­day life and that’s noth­ing new,” Setien told a vir­tual news con­fer­ence on Mon­day.

“I was not an easy player to pos­si­ble to post­pone again, and even the year-long de­lay has cre­ated sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial and lo­gis­ti­cal headaches.

The poll, con­ducted ahead of the Tokyo gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion on July 5, also found in­cum­bent Yuriko Koike lead­ing her op­po­nents “by a large mar­gin”.

Her pre­cise lead was not spec­i­fied, in keep­ing with a me­dia tra­di­tion of not pub­lish­ing polling fig­ures in the days be­fore a vote.

Koike has been heav­ily in­volved in prepa­ra­tions for the Games, trav­el­ing to Rio for the han­dover cer­e­mony af­ter the last Sum­mer Olympics.

Ear­lier this month, she told AFP that the resched­uled Olympics will be safe de­spite the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, pledg­ing a “120 per­cent ef­fort” to en­sure the first-ever post­poned Games can go ahead.

deal with and I un­der­stand this per­fectly well. What we have to do is try to con­vince ev­ery­one that we have to de­fend a com­mon idea,” added the for­mer Atletico Madrid, Logrones and Rac­ing Santander mid­fielder.

Footage of the Celta match showed Lionel Messi ig­nor­ing in­struc­tions from as­sis­tant Eder Sara­bia dur­ing the wa­ter break.

Striker Luis Suarez, mean­while, ap­peared to crit­i­cize Setien in a post-match in­ter­view, say­ing it was the coach­ing staff’s job to an­a­lyze why the team keeps drop­ping points away from home.

Setien, how­ever, tried to play down sug­ges­tions there was a rift be­tween him and his play­ers.

“These are ran­dom in­ci­dents and I don’t give them too much im­por­tance. When you don’t win games ev­ery­one tries to stir the pot but this is the cir­cus we’re in,” he said.

“We’re more con­cerned about the gen­eral at­mos­phere of the team and over­all the re­la­tion­ship with the squad is good. It’s true that we don’t agree about cer­tain things but I don’t think there’s any prob­lem worth men­tion­ing.”

The 61-year-old Setien, whose big­gest job be­fore Barca was with Real Betis, also said he was not used to deal­ing with a dress­ing room of Barca’s cal­iber and per­son­al­i­ties but added that it was vi­tal ev­ery­one worked in the team’s best in­ter­ests.

“I have no prob­lem in ad­mit­ting that this level is new to me, and that I’m in a learn­ing process,” he added.

“We all have to step back a bit for the good of the team, in­clud­ing the play­ers. You can’t do ev­ery­thing you want.

“This is a team and has to act like one. Some­times you have to sac­ri­fice per­sonal things for the good of the team, that’s what’s go­ing to give us vic­tory.”

ANADOLU AGENCY

GUSTAU NACARINO/REUTERS

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