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French athletes denied controversial badges

Latest update : 2008-04-15

The French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) has asked French athletes not to wear badges reading "For a better world," in a move designed to "respect the Olympic charter," according to the CNOSF president. (Report: R.Ranucci)

PARIS - French athletes have been told not to wear a badge reading "For a better world" at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in August, the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) said on Tuesday.

The badge, bearing the Olympic rings, was worn by French athletes during the incident-ridden French leg of the torch relay on in Paris on April 7.

Double Olympic judo champion David Douillet, the joint president of the CNOSF athletes' commission, had said the French athletes were also planning to wear it at the opening ceremony.

But CNOSF president Henri Serandour insisted the badge should not be worn during the Games.

"You can't wear a badge for a cause or another," Serandour told French television channel L'Equipe TV.

"We will respect the Olympic charter which bars tangible expressions of anything during the competitions and the opening and closing ceremonies."

French Sports Minister Bernard Laporte said the decision to ban the badge had been taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"I feel it's regrettable that they cannot wear that badge," Laporte told French radio channel Radio Classique. "That said, it's the IOC's call. They're a private organisation, they decide."

"I didn't think the badge was aggressive," Laporte added. "It did not attack China."

Douillet was to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy later on Tuesday.

China's crackdown on protests in Tibet has fuelled a debate among athletes on whether they should use the Games to make a statement for the respect of human rights.

The Olympic torch relay through Paris was cut short after thousands of pro-Tibet protesters forced it to be extinguished as the event descended into chaos.

Date created : 2008-04-15