ANOC secretary general Gunilla Lindberg has promised that the organisation will try to ensure National Olympic Committees are not financially compromised as a result of the ban on international spectators at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) secretary general Gunilla Lindberg has claimed that she "fully respects" the decision by Tokyo 2020 last week to ban international spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic and hopes that no-one will suffer financially as a result.

The decision was taken following a five-party meeting on Saturday (March 20) involving Tokyo 2020, the Japanese Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee.

IOC President Thomas Bach claimed he was "truly sorry" to disappoint families and friends of athletes, who will now be unable to attend the Games, but felt it was necessary to ensure the safety of the event.

Lindberg has now added her backing to the decision. 

"ANOC fully respects the decision taken not to allow overseas spectators entry into Japan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020," she told insidethegames.

"We understand it was a difficult decision to take but also that it was made in order to protect the health and safety of the athletes and the people in Japan.

Tokyo 2020 will be missing international spectators after organisers banned them because of the coronavirus ©Getty Images
Tokyo 2020 will be missing international spectators after organisers banned them because of the coronavirus ©Getty Images

"The National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and their athletes are understandably disappointed by the decision and the impact it will have on families and friends not being able to share the special moments in Tokyo, but we are also convinced that with the help of digital communications the support will be fantastic and be seen worldwide.

"We have no doubt that Tokyo 2020 will be an excellent event, celebrating humanity and showcasing the uniqueness of the Olympic Movement."

Tokyo 2020 pledged to refund all tickets purchased by international fans but there remain doubts over whether hotels in Japan will return money already paid for accommodation.

"We acknowledge the decision taken by Tokyo 2020 to refund overseas ticketholders and hope that a solution also can be found regarding other financial impacts for the NOCs when it comes to payments for hotel rooms that have already been booked," Lindberg said.

"We expect to receive further details in the coming weeks.

"In the meantime, ANOC will continue to work closely with the IOC, IFs (International Federations) and the Organising Committee and all authorities in Japan and continue to support NOCs and their athletes in their final preparations, making sure that their interests are represented so they can enjoy the best possible Games in the safest possible environment."