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Olympics-IOC chief Bach says Olympic Games cannot be ‘marketplace of demonstrations’

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said the Olympic Games are not about politics and must guard against becoming a “marketplace of demonstrations.”

Against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement to protest racial injustice, calls have increased this year for a change to Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which bans any form political protest during the Games.

World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe said earlier this month he believes athletes should have the right to make gestures of political protest during the Games, contrary to official IOC policy.

“The Olympic Games are firstly about sport. The athletes personify the values of excellence, solidarity and peace,” Bach wrote in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/oct/24/the-olympics-are-about-diversity-and-unity-not-politics-and-profit-boycotts-dont-work-thomas-bach newspaper.

“They express this inclusiveness and mutual respect also by being politically neutral on the field of play and during the ceremonies. At times this focus on sport needs to be reconciled with the freedom of speech all athletes also enjoy at the Games.

“The unifying power of the Games can only unfold if everyone shows respect for and solidarity to one another. Otherwise, the Games will descend into a marketplace of demonstrations of all kinds, dividing and not uniting the world.”

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