Britain’s Olympians could be on a collision course with Games boss Thomas Bach after he declared athletes should not make ‘political demonstrations’ or express their private views on the podium in Tokyo.
Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), of which Bach is president, relaxed its Rule 50, which had previously forbidden athletes from any protests but which now allows them to make gestures on the field provided they do not cause disruption and respect fellow competitors.
Many Team GB athletes have voiced their intention to take a knee in support of the fight against racism and this week the women’s football squad said they would be making the gesture before kick-off in their matches. While such an act is unlikely to trigger sanction, should the footballers or any other athletes finish in the top three and repeat the gesture it could lead to an issue.
Games boss Thomas Bach has declared athletes should not make ‘political demonstrations’
‘The podium and the medal ceremonies are not made…for a political or other demonstration,’ Bach told the Financial Times.
‘They are made to honor the athletes and the medal winners for sporting achievement and not for their private (views).
‘The mission is to have the entire world together at one place and competing peacefully with each other. This you would never manage if the Games (became) divisive.’
Team GB athletes want to follow other sports and take a knee in the fight against racism