Rules and Sanctions of the International Olympic Committee

The organization of the Olympic Games also has its rules, which includes the possibility of infractions and sanctions. The overseeing entity is the International Olympic Committee.
Rules and Sanctions of the International Olympic Committee

Last update: 17 April, 2020

The Olympic Games have their origins in Ancient Greece and are the most important international sporting event today. The greatest dream of every athlete in any sport is to compete in the Olympics. It’s an experience that not only makes athletes proud but the countries they represent as well. Today, we want to take a closer look at the rules and sanctions of the International Olympic Committee.

The Rules of the Olympic Games in Greece

The rules of the original Olympic Games in Greece were quite different from the rules we have today. Some of the most prominent rules, outlined on a bronze plaque at the Olympic headquarters, included the following:

  • Women couldn’t witness the Games.
  • The participants must compete in the nude.
  • Aspiring competitors could only be of Greek origin and had to be free. They had to train and take an oath as part of a ritual.
  • It was prohibited for judges to participate in the Games.
  • Any attempt to bribe the judges was punishable by whipping.
  • Sanctions were of a political, economic, corporal, and sporting nature.

The modern Olympic Games and The International Olympic Committee

In Paris in 1894, a meeting took place where participants unanimously agreed to bring back the Olympic Games. In the same meeting, they decided on the formation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It’s the IOC that determines where the Games will take place. Furthermore, it supervises the planning and updating of the sports program and the negotiation of patronage and broadcasting rights. The IOC is the maximum supervisor of international federations, national Olympic committees, the organizing committees of each host country.

Olympic committee: some basic rules for the modern Olympic Games

Below are the fundamental parameters that regulate the modern Olympic Games:

  • The Olympic Games should promote and induce the participation of athletes of all genders. The first time a female athlete competed with an Olympic team was in 1900.
The lighting of the Olympic torch.
  • The IOC’s executive board can agree to patronage if it’s considered opportune and in line with the Olympic Charter.
  • The IOC has the power to convoke an Olympic Congress and decide on its date and location. Members of the IOC, the IFs and the NOCs can participate.
  • An Olympic solidarity program exists to help those most in need. Its objective is to promote the philosophy of the Olympic Games, form leaders, develop technical knowledge, etc.
  • Once three years have passed after the closing of the Olympic Games, no one can dispute any IOC decision.
  • Legal protection exists which gives all the rights of the Olympic Games to the International Olympic Committee. The utilization of some of these rights by third parties is possible. However, only with the authorization of the COI and under certain conditions.
  • The symbols, flags, and hymn of the Olympic Games can be used by the International Olympics Committee. At times, National Olympic Committees may also use them. However, this must always be within the frameworks of activities to promote the Olympic movement and with previous approval.
  • To be able to be a part of the International Olympic Committee, individuals must first be at least 18 years of age. What’s more, he or she must meet the conditions of admissibility and eligibility according to the Olympic Charter.

Olympic committee rule 23: measures and sanctions

The executive board of the IOC is responsible for making inquiries and analyzing actions that are subject to sanctions. During the procedure, they have the possibility of temporarily removing those involved and the obligation of hearing all sides. They express their decision to the affected party in writing and it goes into effect immediately.

Possible sanctions of the Olympic Games

Regarding violations by individual athletes or teams of the Olympic Charter, anti-doping rules, and other rules, sanctions include:

  • Non-admission or temporary or permanent expulsion from the Olympic Games.
  • Disqualification or removal, including the return of any medals the athlete or team has won.
  • Loss of classification for other competitions in which the individual or team was going to compete.
The Olympic rings.

If the measures are against members of a delegation, officials, referees or judges:

  • Non-admission or temporary or permanent expulsion from the Olympic Games. In this case, there may be a previous warning, depending on the seriousness of the offense.

When it comes to International Federations with IOC recognition that don’t respect part of the Olympic Charter:

  • Provisional removal of recognition on behalf of the executive board of the IOC.

And finally, the IOC can also suspend National Committees and analyze the consequences for the NOC and its athletes. For example, they may temporarily or permanently lose certain rights, including losing their chance to host the Olympic Games. In more serious cases, penalties can include being exclusion from candidature for future games.

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