Apparently, being a British Olympian is almost as oppressive as working for Madison Square Garden. From the Daily Mail’s Rob Draper and Daniel King.
British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s appalling human rights record “ or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.
The move “ which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 “ immediately provoked a storm of protest.
The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes’ contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.
It is contained in a 32-page document that will be presented to all those who reach the qualifying standard and are chosen for the team.
From the moment they sign up, the competitors “ likely to include the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and world record holder Paula Radcliffe “ will be effectively gagged from commenting on China’s politics, human rights abuses or illegal occupation of Tibet.
Yesterday the British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed to The Mail on Sunday that any athlete who refuses to sign the agreements will not be allowed to travel to Beijing.
Should a competitor agree to the clause but then speak their mind about China, they will be put on the next plane home.
The clause, in section 4 of the contract, simply states: œ[Athletes] are not to comment on any politically sensitive issues.
It then refers competitors to Section 51 of the International Olympic Committee charter, which œprovides for no kind of demonstration, or political, religious or racial propaganda in the Olympic sites, venues or other areas.