Brian Lewis has questioned whether sport leaders will act on social issues ©CANOC

Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees President Brian Lewis has questioned whether sport leaders can be trusted to act on issues such as racism and sexism.

Lewis made the comments during an address at the Sports Integrity Global Alliance's online Sports Integrity Week event.

"In the world of international sport, sports leaders know the truth, see the truth but still believe the lies and deny the reality of racism, sexism," said Lewis, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

"The principles of equality and non-discrimination are at the heart of human rights. 

"Discrimination persists against religion, ethnic minorities, persons of African descent, older persons, women and persons with disabilities.

"International sport is run by white, male decision-makers who have never been racially abused.

"They have no idea what being racially abused feels like.

"Or what being discriminated feels like, it doesn't affect them.

"Can we trust world sports leaders who talk the talk?

"They say the politically right things when they are in public but behind the scenes, the actions they take don't reflect the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

"Can we trust world sports leaders and decision-makers to walk the talk?"

Lewis, who is also President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, spoke with athletes across sport showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in recent months.

This includes players in the National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association who have boycotted matches to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

In the Olympic Movement, there have also been renewed calls for a change to Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter with some calling for it to be scrapped altogether.

Rule 50 states that "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) claims this is designed to protect the neutrality of sport and the Olympic Movement.

Hammer thrower Gwen Berry has called for the IOC to remove Rule 50 ©Getty Images
Hammer thrower Gwen Berry has called for the IOC to remove Rule 50 ©Getty Images

Hammer thrower Gwen Berry and fencer Race Imboden both made notable protests at last year's Pan American Games in Lima.

The Americans were placed on a year's probation by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee after breaching Games rules with their protests on the podium.

Berry has now called for IOC President Thomas Bach to change Rule 50.

"Thomas Bach, I know that you want to preserve the Olympic Games as a place where harmony reigns, and the focus is exclusively on sports," she told the New York Times.

"You require athletes to push the boundaries of what is possible and strive for excellence.

"It's time for you to do the same.

"You should get rid of Rule 50 and suggest something different."

The IOC announced in June that its Athletes' Commission would "have dialogue with athletes around the world to explore different ways for how Olympic athletes can express their support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter in a dignified way".

A consultation framework was published by the IOC Athletes' Commission last week, along with a draft timeline for the process.

The Commission said the consultation will aim to engage with athletes and athlete representatives across the Olympic Movement through various means.

They will consolidate and review the feedback from the global network of athlete representatives, and develop survey questions that will form part of the consultation.

Under the draft timeline, engagement with Athletes' Commissions will take place globally until October.

This will include the launch of "qualitative consultation with athletes and Athletes' Commissions" in September, followed by a "mixed quantitative and qualitative online survey with the global athlete community" in October.

Analysis of the survey will be carried out in November, before further discussions with Athletes' Commissions.

A first report is then expected to be presented to the IOC Executive Board in December, with a finalised recommendation intended in the first quarter of 2021.

This will be in time for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.