Soccer-‘Who’s it for?’ captain Yoshida asks in name to raise fan ban

Soccer – Serie A – Juventus v Sampdoria – Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy – September 20th, 2020. Maya Yoshida of Sampdoria. REUTERS / Massimo Pinca / File Photo

July 18 (Reuters) – Japan captain Maya Yoshida has questioned the decision to hold the Olympics behind closed doors and urged authorities to reconsider the ban on spectators before the football tournaments begin on Wednesday.

Fans will be absent from the games as coronavirus infections continue to rise in Japan, although fans are allowed to participate in other sports competitions in the country.

Yoshida led Japan to a 1-1 draw with Spain on Saturday in the final warm-up match before the opening men’s game on Saturday, with a socially distant crowd at the Kobe City Stadium.

The women’s tournament begins on Wednesday.

The presence of fans led the former Southampton defender to wonder why fans were banned from games that run until August 8th.

“I think many people’s tax dollars will hold these Olympics,” Asahi Yoshida newspaper quoted at an online press conference.

“Still, people can’t go and watch. So you wonder who and what the Olympic Games are for. Of course, athletes want to play in front of fans.”

With cases growing rapidly, a state of emergency has entered Tokyo, but viewers have continued to attend games in Japan’s professional baseball league and the country’s national soccer competition, the J-League.

“Our families have sacrificed and endured, they supported us when we competed in Europe,” said Yoshida, who is currently playing for Sampdoria in Italy.

“It’s not just the players who have played, it’s the family members, each and every one of them.

“So if they can’t see the game, well, who and what the game is for, then this question arises. I really hope we can seriously reconsider.”

Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, editing by Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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