Following results of a recent survey involving over 3,500 athletes, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has upheld Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter which prohibits any form of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” This means that any gesture to support the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement will be punished accordingly. / source
The BLM movement resurfaced on May 26, 2020 after the death of George Floyd. The movement aims to combat the age-old problem of racism. Since then, many footballers in the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League have been taking a knee before the kickoff of their matches in solidarity with the movement.
In recent months, there have been increased calls to change Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter to allow athletes to express their support for movements such as the BLM during the Olympics. In October 2020, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said that athletes should have the right to make any gestures of political protest during the Games. In December 2020, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said that it will not take action if athletes make gestures of political protest such as raising their fist or taking a knee on Olympic trials. / source
However, the survey on athletes conducted by the IOC Athletes’ Commission reflected 70 percent of its respondents who find it “not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views” during the Games. Furthermore, 67 percent also disapproved of demonstrations during the awards ceremony. As a result, it was decided by the IOC not to change Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. Sanctions will also be given to athletes who violate the said rule.
Edited by Aldo Tong