Olympics Chiefs Relax Protest Rules For Tokyo Games

Above Photo: Behrouz Mehri / AFP / Getty Images.

The International Olympic Committee will allow athletes to make gestures of protest at the Tokyo Games.

But they cannot target people, countries or organizations.

Olympics chiefs on Friday eased some of its rules to allow athletes at the Tokyo Games to “express their views” both before and after events.

The decision came amid calls to relax rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter, which states: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had promised to review the rule after the Black Lives Matter movement gained global support.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee had already vowed not to sanction American athletes for “respectful” protests supporting racial and social justice at the Tokyo Games.

IOC said it consulted with some 3,500 athletes ahead of the Tokyo Games, which open in three weeks.

What Are The New Guidelines?

For the first time, athletes can express themselves before starting a competition or after, but not during a game. In that limited period, athletes can take a knee or raise a fist.

Political statements during events, victory ceremonies, and at the Olympic Village are still not allowed, the IOC said.

IOC also stressed that protests must not be “targeted, directly or indirectly, against people, countries, organizations and/or their dignity,” and they cannot be “disruptive” to other competitors.

Athletes who violate the revised guidelines face sanctions, including disqualification and being stripped of medals.