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FIFPRO underlines commitment to player activism

27 January 2020
FIFPRO has underlined its commitment to player activism after the International Olympic Committee released guidelines, clarifying that athletes are subject to sanctions by making political gestures on the podium, in the Olympic village, at the opening and closing ceremonies, or on the field of play.

FIFPRO believes the 65,000 footballers it represents around the world through our affiliated national player associations should be free to express themselves. That includes those that will compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the men’s and women’s football tournaments.

Furthermore, the profile of footballers at the top of the game means they have a valuable opportunity to leave a lasting mark on society. Players including Raheem Sterling and Megan Rapinoe have been international role models in speaking up against discrimination based on race and gender.

Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPRO General Secretary, said FIFPRO would stand by and support any players who feel they want to express views and be part of a social movement for change at the Olympic Games.

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Raheem Sterling

"We feel very strongly that the players' freedom of speech on political issues need to be protected. Their freedom of expression overrides any other interest that may be in play during the Olympic Games.

"It is hypocritical and unacceptable for sports event organizers to champion the role of strong athletes and personalities in society but say ‘if you do this in our venues it is an offence that can be sanctioned’.

"Football players should have the same rights as everyone else to express themselves and we will not hesitate to defend those rights if necessary.”

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