Athletes competing at Glasgow 2014 have been warned they could be thrown out of the event if they do not adhere to strict social media guidelines released by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
The CGF has produced a list of rules and guidelines for competitors and team officials at this year’s Games, which is due to take place from July 23 to August 3, warning them any flouting of the rules on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will not be tolerated and could result in them being kicked-out of the event.
The policy, which also applies to Games volunteers, warns against the posting of inappropriate sexist or racist remarks on social media sites and orders athletes not to write anything about their fellow competitors unless it is positive.
The document states: “If you use social media at the Games, do be kind to others.
“Do not insult anyone or say anything that could be construed as offensive.”
The move has no doubt been influenced by a number of high-profile cases involving athletes at previous events, including Greek athlete Voula Papachristou and Swiss footballer Michel Morganella at London 2012.
Triple jumper Papachristou was thrown out of the Olympic Games after tweeting a racist remark about Africans in Greece causing an outbreak of the West Nile virus which claimed the life of one person.
Morganella was stripped of his accreditation at London 2012 after he tweeted “I want to beat up all South Koreans! Bunch of mentally handicapped retards!” (“Je les tous Defonce Coréens, allez vous tous Bruler, bande de trisos!”) after his side lost 2-1 to the Asian country.
During Sochi 2014, Australian athletes were angered after the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) placed restrictions on their use of social media.
The AOC denied it was a “blanket ban” but instead urged its athletes to use social media “responsibly”.
The Glasgow 2014 guidelines also warn athletes not to post exclusive material which infringes copyright agreements and upsets media partners or “share information that might compromise the security, staging and organisation of the Games, such as details of Ceremonies”.
They also urge participants to be careful when posing for photographs with children under 16-years-old and ask their permission before they post the photographs on social media sites.
It adds: “Tweeting a picture of your friends in the crowd is fine (with their permission); uploading the 100m men’s final is not,” although athletes and volunteers are allowed to post fun pictures of themselves from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.”
“The CGF wants everyone to have a happy and enjoyable time at the Commonwealth Games,” head of communications at the CGF Peter Murphy, told insidethegames.
“Our policy on social media only covers those who have accreditations to the Games, but it contains advice that’s useful to everyone.
“For instance we really encourage spectators, the public and athletes to share their experiences via Twitter or Facebook, but we’d remind everyone to ask permission before sharing someone else’s photo online.
“Ultimately though, it’s all common-sense, we simply ask people to be mindful and considerate of others.”
This article first appeared in www.insidethegames.biz and is reproduced with permission.