Irish Athletes Call For Relaxation of Rule 50

Irish Olympic and aspiring Olympic athletes would like to see a relaxation of IOC Rule 50 to allow for considerate protest.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, following a two-part consultation with Irish Olympic and aspiring Olympic athletes are calling for a relaxation of IOC Rule 50 to allow for considerate protest if it can be carried out in a manner that does not detract from the experience of other athletes nor impact on the timing and running of events.

Currently the IOC AC guidelines for Rule 50 allow for athlete opinions to be voiced during press conferences and interviews and on digital or traditional media however it is noted that expressing one’s views is different from protest and demonstration.

Shane O’Connor, Chair of the OFI Athlete’s Commission said

“We recognize that there are challenging circumstances surrounding Rule 50 – it is clear that athletes are becoming more engaged in issues that affect athletes and society as a whole however we must also recognize that simply abolishing Rule 50 could have negative consequences which we feel should be avoided.  

We acknowledge that finding the right balance for what could be termed ‘considerate’ protest will be difficult but we believe it is incumbent on the IOC to reconsider Rule 50 and find that balance which meets the needs of athletes without detracting from the Olympic values or creating a negative impacting on athletes and spectator’s games experience.”

The OFI Athletes’ Commission welcome the consultation process to be run through the IOC Athletes’ Commission and will be establishing a working group led by OFI and EOC Athletes Commission member David Harte OLY, which will include Olympians and aspiring Olympic athletes, to engage through the IOC Athletes’ Commission consultation process.

In addition the OFI Athletes Commission will engage with the OFI for an official position on protest to ensure at a minimum absolute clarity for Irish athletes in advance of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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