The International Olympic Committee says it plans to stop any athlete from showing support of LGBT Russians at the Sochi Winter Games, reports Gay Star News.
However, the IOC claims this isn’t due to Russia’s recently passed antigay laws banning so-called “homosexual propaganda,” but an enforcement of the rules that govern the Olympics.
Rule 50 of the IOC’s charter states “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
“The IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter, which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration,” an IOC spokeswoman told Gay Star News. “This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary.
According to the cited rule, athletes found in violation could face “disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned.”
This means any athlete who is seen holding hands with a member of the same sex or wearing a rainbow pin at any point during the games in Sochi would not only face potential fines, jail time, and deportation under Russian law but also punishment from the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC spokeswoman also told Gay Star News that athletes who violated rule 50 of the Olympic charter by showing support for the LGBT community would be evaluated on an individual basis and “sensible approach” would be taken “depending on what was said or done.”