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IOC President, Thomas Bach, Says IOC Will Discuss Protest Rules With Athletes

I
nternational Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, said the rules on athlete protests during the Olympic Games will be discussed with athletes.

This comes amid concerns from the Athletics Association that athletes will be penalised for showing their support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

The Athletics Association, which was recently established in an effort to provide a louder voice for track and field athletes, said in a statement they oppose Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which says field of play and medal events should be ‘separate from political, religious, or any other type of interference’.

“It’s clear that the IOC’s Rule 50 is not fit for purpose and is in fact preventing athletes from displaying Olympism at the Olympic Games,” the Athletics Association statement said.

“We call on the IOC to make changes to the rule ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games that are due to take place in 2021.

“We also call on national Olympic committees around the world to support the athletes that represent their countries on the world’s biggest sporting stage, by guaranteeing that any athlete that peacefully protests in the spirit of Olympism will face no sanctions or punishment,” Athletics Association said.

At the 136th IOC session, Bach said athletes have opportunities outside of the ruling of Rule 50 to express their views during the Games.

“Solidarity and non-discrimination are in our DNA,” Bach said.

“Therefore we appreciate all the athletes, and anybody, who supports these values by expressing themselves or who are helping others by engaging in their communities.

“In this context, we have to make some remarks with regard to the discussion about Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter.

“It is important to emphasise that the athletes have already multiple opportunities to express their views also during the Olympic Games, press conferences, mixed zones, social media, interviews, TV meeting and others.

“Rule 50 addresses only the field of play and the ceremonies.

“To reconcile these values of free expression on one hand and respect for each other on the other, the IOC Athletes Commission has initiated a dialogue among athletes on how they can even better express their support for Olympic values in a dignified and non-divisive way,” he said.