IOC to allow some protests by athletes at Tokyo Olympics

Madrid, Jul 2 (EFE).- The International Olympic Committee said Friday that athletes will be permitted to make gestures of protest on the playing field during the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo.

“During the Olympic Games, athletes will have the opportunity to express their views,” the IOC said in a statement.

The IOC said athletes will be allowed to express their opinions on the field prior to the start of the competition or during the introduction of the athlete or team, but not during the competition itself.

“When expressing their views, athletes are expected to respect the applicable laws, the Olympic values and their fellow athletes. It should be recognized that any behavior and/or expression that constitutes or signals discrimination, hatred, hostility or the potential for violence on any basis whatsoever is contrary to the Fundamental Principles of Olympism,” it added.

Athletes will also be allowed to express opinions during press conferences, interviews and on social media.

The new guidelines are the result of the third review of the regulation in 18 months.

“Rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter provides for the protection of the neutrality of sport at the Olympic Games and the neutrality of the Games themselves,” the IOC pointed out.

The move comes after numerous athletes called for the restrictions on freedom of expression to be eased.

Athletes had demanded that the Olympics permit demonstrations of the kind now commonly seen at sporting events, such as players’ taking the knee to support Black Lives Matter and display of rainbow flags in solidarity with LGBTQ people. EFE omm/mp/dr

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