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Ban Saudi Arabia from London 2012

This petition had 128 supporters

Saudi Arabia is one of three countries in the world that has never sent a woman to the Olympic Games. The other two, Brunei and Qatar, have indicated that they will send women to the London Olympics later this year. However Saudi Arabia has announced that once again, it plans to send an all-male team.  

This refusal to send sportswomen to the Olympics puts them directly at odds with one of the IOC’s Fundamental Principles as laid out within the Olympic Charter. It reads that "any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."1

Comments from the President of Saudi Arabian National Olympic Committee that he "does not endorse female participation of Saudi Arabia at the present time in the Olympics” (4th April 2012) demonstrates once again their refusal to end their discrimination.

While most indications are that this refusal stems from the Saudi Arabian interpretation of Islamic law, there have been some reports suggesting that it is due to there being no women who meet the required Olympic Qualification Standard in any discipline. If this is the case, the IOC's Principle of Universality means that Saudi Arabia are able to send a non-qualified woman to compete in certain sports (such as athletics) if they wish to do so. We recommend that this opportunity is taken if it's necessary for 2012, and that Saudi Arabia invest in their sporting infrastructure for women to ensure that by 2016 they have women who are meeting the qualification standards in a number of sports.

In the UK, 80% of women are not active enough to benefit their health and girls leave school only half as likely to reach recommended activity levels as boys. The gender gap around the world is even worse. London 2012 is an incredible opportunity to change these stats and inspire women and girls to play more sport and be active. But the opportunity will be severely tarnished if the IOC decides to tolerate this blatant discrimination.

Therefore unless Saudi Arabia reverses its decision, the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation calls for the IOC to ban them from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


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