The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 have been urged to provide clear policies on refunding tickets should overseas spectators be prevented from attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The issue was raised during the virtual IOC Session today by Greek member Spyros Capralos, amid local reports in Japan that international fans will not be able to attend.
Capralos said organizers needed to help people who have already purchased tickets and accommodation for the Games, stressing that a clear policy was required for refunds.
"We must find ways to deal with people who have already booked and paid for airplane tickets, Games tickets, and accommodation, who may now not be able to travel to Tokyo," Capralos said.
"Not to forget, many of these people are parents and relatives of the athletes, who have the passion and commitment to witness the Olympic Games.
"If the decision at the end is not to allow visitors to Japan, Tokyo 2020 and the IOC should make sure we have clear and well-designed policies on refunding ticket sales and accommodation costs in order to avoid claims and legal costs."
Capralos’ concerns were echoed by Sweden’s Gunilla Lindberg, with the IOC member suggesting a decision should be left as late as possible by organizers.
Lindberg said the IOC would understand if overseas fans cannot attend amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but warned there would be consequences if that is the decision taken.
"A lot of people have already bought tickets and hotel rooms," Lindberg said.
"The consequences of the decision might be extremely difficult for people in the world.
"Maybe you can take this decision as late as possible when we know the situation in the world."
A late decision is unlikely, with Tokyo 2020 and the IOC instead expected to confirm whether overseas spectators can attend by March 25th.
The Torch Relay is scheduled to resume on this date.
John Coates, the IOC Coordination Commission chair for Tokyo 2020, said the organization had held a meeting earlier in the day with organizers in Japan.
Coates said the meeting was largely devoted to the consequences should fans be unable to attend, with the Australian saying that refunds will be "a given."
"We are looking at the refund of tickets, that is a given," Coates said.
"But we are looking at the other implications of accommodation, we are looking at implications for National Olympic Committees who have sponsors who might have bought tickets.
"The same with International Federations.
"This will be an ongoing and very urgent discussion.
"We will have to try and address all these consequences in advance over the next week, but we are very mindful of the uncertainty."
Overseas ticket sales are largely handled by Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATRs), with each having its own individual refund procedure.
These are appointed by National Olympic Committees.
Around 4.48 million tickets were sold for the Olympics, while 970,000 were sold for the Paralympics.
Tokyo 2020 offered a refund window for domestic ticketholders last year.
Ticket sales for the Games are suspended, with uncertainty over whether domestic and international fans will be able to attend.
The Olympics are now scheduled for July 23rd to August 8th, followed by the Paralympics from August 24th to September 5th.