Olympics

IOC to consult athletes on protests ahead of Tokyo Games

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Thomas Bach

Image credit: Getty Images

ByEurosport
10/06/2020 at 17:14 | Updated 10/06/2020 at 17:38

The IOC has said that it will consult with athletes via the Athletes’ Commission regarding protests at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games.

In January the IOC published its guidance ahead of the Games, stating protests and demonstrations – including gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling – were not permitted on the field of play, in the Olympic Village, during medal ceremonies or during the Opening, Closing and other official ceremonies.

However, with protests continuing across the world following the death in police custody of George Floyd in the United States on May 25, sporting bodies have began to update protocols. FIFA, for example, which forbids players expressing personal views about politics, religion and social issues on the field, broke with its usual protocol and advised a "common sense approach" to player protests.

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President Thomas Bach reaffirmed the IOC's condemnation of racism in the strongest terms on Wednesday and added that its board supported the initiative of the IOC Athletes' Commission to explore different ways for Olympic athletes to express their support.

“The IOC executive board supports the initiative of the IOC Athletes’ Commission to explore different ways of how Olympic athletes can express their support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic charter in a dignified way," Bach said in a teleconference on Wednesday.

Thomas Bach

Image credit: Getty Images

“We also agree with the Athletes’ Commission that we must always respect the Olympic spirit and this means that we must make a difference between such support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter and potentially divisive demonstrations.

“We are looking forward to the input we will get from the IOC Athletes’ Commission on this topics within this framework.”

The IOC president added that he would await the Athletes’ Commission proposal regarding athlete protests before making further comment.

"I will not pre-empt in any way this consultation the Athletes’ Commission will have with many athlete representatives around the world.

"It would not be fair if now I make a statement and they are giving directions or even instructions in this respect," added Bach.

"The framework has been set and now let the Athletes' Commission and athletes discuss amongst themselves and come up with a relevant proposals."

The Games were originally scheduled to start next month but the IOC and the Japanese government took the decision in March to postpone the event for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With additional reporting from Reuters

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