Tokyo Olympics: Social media teams 'banned from showing athletes taking the knee'

22 July 2021, 08:28

Team GB's women's football team took the knee before their match on Wednesday.
Team GB's women's football team took the knee before their match on Wednesday. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Tokyo Olympics social media teams have been banned from sharing posts of athletes taking the knee throughout the games.

It comes after Team GB's women's football team took the knee at their first match of the games against Chile on Wednesday.

Players from the United States, Sweden and New Zealand have since joined in with the gesture against racism.

For the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) relaxed its rules surrounding "making demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas", allowing the teams to make the move.

However, no images appeared on the official Tokyo 2020 live blog or its social media - including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

They did not appear on the IOC's platforms either.

Read more: Team GB women's football team 'united' in decision to take the knee at Tokyo Olympics

Read more: Kwasi Kwarteng: I wouldn't take the knee - it's not addressing the issue

An insider told The Guardian that social media teams were told to not show athletes taking the knee at the games on Tuesday evening, ahead of Team GB's match.

They said they found the stance "odd" because "the organisation celebrates iconic pictures of protest".

The changes to the IOC's Rule 50 were allowed providing the protests do not cause disruption and show respect to other competitors.

"As players in Great Britain we've been taking the knee in club and international matches and we felt strongly as a group that we wanted to show support for those affected by discrimination and equality," said one of Team GB's captains - Steph Houghton - after the match.

"It was a proud moment because the Chile players took the knee too to show how united we are as sport."