Athletes' 'better world' badge ban

U-turn as France’s Olympic team boss bans athletes from wearing the message ‘For a better world.’

14 April 2008

FRANCE’S national Olympic team has been banned from wearing a badge saying ‘For a better world’.

The president of the Comité national Olympique Henri Sérandour, who last week commended the idea of the badge, said he would no longer allow the athletes to wear it.

Mr Sérandour said he would respect the Olympic Charter which demands no protests, political, religious or otherwise during sporting events, opening and closing ceremonies, or on official grounds. He added that athletes could not wear 'one badge for one cause and one badge for another'.

The President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge has said that athletes would be free to express themselves outside of the arena of competition, grounds and events considered to come under the remit of the Games at Beijing.

French athletes announced on April 4, that they would wear the badge, which contains the logo of the Olympic rings with the words ‘France: Pour un monde meilleur’, and claimed to have the support of Mr Sérandour.

In an interview in Le Monde on April 11 Mr Sérandour said he had fought for a compromise through which French athletes could 'send a message to those who could not taste the joys of liberty and tolerance' and that fell not only inline with the idea of the Games but for 'a new era'.

France's Minister for Sport Bernard Laporte has also given his support to the badge saying it was 'the best solution'.

Earlier attempts by France's athletics body the Comité national olympique et sportif français CNOSF to wear badges in support of human rights were rejected on the grounds that they contained too strong a political message.

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