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Athletes warned against protesting anti-gay laws in Sochi

IOC chief sends letter to all prospective Olympians to avoid causing 'controversy' while competing in Russia
IOC chief Thomas Bach has expressly warned athletes to not cause any 'controversy' while competing in the Winter Olympics in Russia.
Photo by Sven Teschke.

Athletes have now been expressly warned against protesting against the anti-gay laws in Russia while they compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics next year.

International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach has told athletes they should avoid being involved in any ‘controversy’.

The IOC will draw up a letter to send to athletes when it meets in Lausanne, Switzerland today (10 December).

‘As an athlete, you do not want to be confronted with any kind of political controversies at the Games,’ he said, according to the BBC.

Bach claims he is trying to keep athletes away from any negative publicity.

‘I know from my own experience, this is key,’ said Bach, who won a team fencing gold medal for West Germany in 1976.

In August, the IOC confirmed they would punish athletes if they attempted to show solidarity with LGBTI Russians.

The Olympics own charter describes such things as ‘propaganda’ – the same word used by the Russians in their new anti-gay law which stops homosexuality being ‘promoted’ to minors.

Under rule 50 of the IOC’s charter, it states: ‘No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.’

Swedish athlete Emma Green-Tregaro  painted her fingernails rainbow during the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

Following the controversy, she was forced to repaint her nails as the demonstration was a breach of regulations.

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