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International Games
Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Birmingham 2022 Chief Executive Open to Anti-Racism Protests

Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid insists he is "comfortable" providing athletes with a platform to express themselves after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said it would be open to anti-racism protests.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is under increasing pressure to relax its rules and allow competitors to demonstrate at venues and on the podium at the Games.

Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."

Reid said the CGF leadership was "a bit more flexible" than the IOC after David Grevemberg, the organization’s chief executive, said "we are comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation" surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

"We are the Organizing Committee so we operate under the rules set out by the CGF," Reid told insidethegames.

"We will follow whatever guidance they give us.

"From the feedback I have had and looking at the press coverage as well, David has got quite a clear position in being a bit more flexible than the Olympic rules in relation to athletes being able to express themselves.

"They will put in place that framework and we will follow that, but I think there is a bit more flexibility here.

"Listening to David speak about it, the whole partnership in Birmingham certainly supports that approach and we are absolutely comfortable with providing that flexibility and platform for athletes to express themselves."

The Commonwealth Games, which was previously called the British Empire Games, has also faced criticism over its links with colonialism.

Kehinde Andrews, professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, branded the Games as a "metaphor for empire".

Aftab Rahman, founding director of charity Legacy WM, also highlighted the Games’ failure to properly address its history, claiming the event was a reminder of a "bloody past".

But, speaking in July last year, Grevemberg confirmed a truth and reconciliation plan would be in place for Birmingham 2022 and said the CGF was holding "regular conversations" about the connection with the British Empire.

According to Reid, Birmingham 2022 is also looking to redress the diversity balance on its Board in a bid to become "much more reflective of the region".
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