Protection, Freedom of Speech of Athletes, Press Releases

Statement on the Revision of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter 

Berlin, June 11, 2020. Athleten Deutschland welcomes Thomas Bach’s initiative to review Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter including the ban on political protests. The restriction of freedom of opinion in sport can only be tolerated if athletes and federations jointly determine possible limits and thus legitimize them through a jointly negotiated consensus.

To allow a meaningful and sustainable consultation process with athletes, we expect the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the IOC leadership to respect and fully implement the following principles:

1. Genuine inclusion 
The consultation process and any changes to Rule 50 must be based on feedback from the athletes’ representatives. Independent athlete groups representing Olympic athletes must be included with equal consideration. The terms of the consultation process must be jointly defined by all participants prior to its start.

2. Transparency 
Feedback must be made publicly available and visible. If certain pieces of feedback are rejected or not considered, the IOC Athletes’ Commission must provide a justification for the rejection.

3. Accountability 
The IOC Executive Committee must commit itself to implementing the results of the consultation. It must report transparently on how these results are reflected in its decision-making process for the review of Rule 50.

Johannes Herber, CEO of Athleten Deutschland, adds: “It is perilous to limit any possible changes to Rule 50 in advance to the scope of the Olympic Charter. The Charter does not include a commitment to fundamental human rights. While the IOC’s principle of non-discrimination is crucially important, it does not cover many other rights worthy of protection.”

In light of this discussion, we refer to the call to include an eighth fundamental principle of Olympism in the Olympic Charter. This would see the IOC commit to respecting all internationally recognized human rights. The call made by Athleten Deutschland together with athlete groups from other countries already in October 2019.

Maximilian Klein, Representative for International Sports Policy for Athleten Deutschland: “Previous consultation and participation processes have not sufficiently met basic democratic standards. The involvement of athletes in the postponement of the Olympic Games was unsatisfactory; the announced consultation procedure on Rule 40 has not yet taken place. We are of course happy to be convinced of the opposite and expect the process to be initiated swiftly by the end of June.”