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Atlanta [USA], Jan 10 : The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday issued new guidelines according to which athletes have been told to better not protest on the field, on the medal stand or in the Olympic Village in the upcoming gigantic event.

Prohibited acts of protest include “gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling,” the recently distributed Rule 50 Guidelines say, CNN reported.

Athletes will be allowed to express their opinions on digital or traditional media, or on other platforms. They can also do it when being interviewed at news conferences or in an area called the mixed zone, according to the IOC.

Expressing views is different from protesting and demonstrating, the three-page guidelines say.

“We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world,” a message from the IOC Athletes’ Commission says.

“This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations,” it added.

Rule 50 of the Olympic charter says athletes will engage in “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

The new guidelines barres athletes from podium protests. In 2019, American gold medalist fencer Race Imboden took a knee as the National Anthem was played at the Pan American Games in Peru.

Any possible violations will be investigated by the IOC, the federation that governs the sport involved, and the organizing committee of the nation the person is from. There is no stated punishment for people who break the rule.

The opening ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is scheduled on July 24.


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