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IOC finalizes letter reminding athletes not to protest in Sochi

Thomas Bach

IOC President Thomas Bach XXX at YYY during his two-day visit on November 21, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. This is Bach’s first visit to South Korea, where he will be meeting with the organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Chung Sung-Jun

The International Olympic Committee is set to send a letter to national Olympic committees reminding athletes of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” during the Games.

“We will give the background of the Rule 50, explaining the interpretation of the Rule 50 to make the athletes aware and to assure them that the athletes will be protected,” IOC president Thomas Bach told The Associated Press.

The IOC executive board is expected to approve the letter’s instructions Tuesday, and it will be sent to national Olympic committees that are sending athletes to the Sochi Olympics, according to the AP.

The charter says the IOC can take action against — even expel — athletes who violate Rule 50, but the committee has said the rule would be “interpreted and applied sensibly and proportionately.”

“This is about the principles,” Bach said. “The principle is to protect the Olympic athletes to be drawn into political controversies. Then, you always have to decide on a case-by-case basis.”

An IOC spokesman said the letter is sent before every Olympics.

The letter comes amid the backdrop of Russia’s law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors. Bach told the AP he met with Vladimir Putin in October, and that the Russian president assured him no spectators or athletes would face discrimination at the Olympics.

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