The International Olympic Committee has a long-standing rule about political demonstrations and they have confirmed to Gay Star News that they will likely enforce that rule at Sochi should any pro-gay protests be made by the athletes.
Under rule 50 of the IOC’s charter: ‘No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.’ GSN had asked what the global Olympic chiefs thought about plans for athletes to wear rainbow pins or hold hands during the opening and closing ceremonies.
We also asked if the IOC would provide a safe space – or Pride House – for LGBT athletes, spectators, dignitaries and others during the games to celebrate gay sport and community. But their spokeswoman told us: ‘Regarding your suggestions, the IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration.
‘This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary. In any case, the IOC would treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done.’ The message is clear, athletes, coaches and others who step out of line – for example by wearing rainbow pins – would not just risk arrest from Russians, but also punishment from the IOC.
The penalty for violating Rule 50 can be “disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned without appeal.”