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Athletes free to protest about social injustice at Birmingham CWG

February 24, 2022 16:52 IST
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Hate messages and protests aimed explicitly at a specific organisation, person or country, however, are not permitted.

IMAGE: Hate messages and protests aimed explicitly at a specific organisation, person or country, however, are not permitted. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Competitors at this year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will be allowed to take a knee or display a symbol in solidarity with a cause after organisers unveiled a set of "guiding principles" for athlete advocacy on Wednesday.

Athletes can wave an Aboriginal or Pride flag during a victory lap, raise a fist on the podium or speak out in favour of other social justice causes.

 

Hate messages and protests aimed explicitly at a specific organisation, person or country, however, are not permitted.

"It is the belief of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) that athlete advocacy and activism humanises, rather than politicises, sport," said president Louise Martin.

"I am proud of our approach to help strengthen the athlete voice. We want to encourage the positive, not police the negative."

The CGF added that athletes were agents of change and ambassadors for "respect, impartiality and non-discrimination".

The principles are a departure from Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter that stipulates "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), however, relaxed the rules ahead of last year's Tokyo Games, allowing athletes to express themselves politically as long as their gestures were not disruptive and met certain other criteria.

The IOC also did not sanction Ukrainian skeleton slider Vladyslav Heraskevych at the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this month after he flashed a "No war in Ukraine" sign, referring to the tense political situation with Russia.

The governing body said the 23-year-old's actions were a general call for peace.

The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham run from July 28 to August 8.

 

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Source: REUTERS
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