A new independent body for track and field athletes has pledged to lead the fight against a controversial rule banning Tokyo 2020 Olympians from taking a knee in solidarity with the anti-racism movement.

Christian Taylor, a double Olympic champion and inaugural president of the Athletics Association, immediately vowed to tackle the International Olympic Committee over its legislation banning any political protests.

In an interview with the Telegraph Sport, the US triple jumper, who will compete at the rearranged Games next year, said the Premier League had helped set a "beautiful and so powerful" precedent in taking the knee with the blessing of the governing bodies.

Support for Black Lives Matter is likely to continue at next year's Games, he suggested, despite the IOC's controversial rule 50, which also prohibits any demonstrations against racism or discrimination.

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Taylor said it was distressing that little progress had been made at the Olympics since two African-American medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, each raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the US national anthem in 1968.

"Obviously, there's a great significance of the podium because the world is watching," said Taylor, 30.

"Why would an athlete not be able to use your voice, that constant remembrance of John Carlos on the podium. Everyone is saying how strong the symbolism is but we're talking 50 years on and nothing has changed: the athletes, if they go up to protest, they will still be punished.

"This is something that we find to be a pressing matter and something that we will push for for change and in modification because we know it does go against our human rights."

Christian Taylor celebrates his gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Photo / Photosport
Christian Taylor celebrates his gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Photo / Photosport

Fifa, the Football Association and America's National Football League are among major sports organisations to remove sanctions last month for peaceful protest following the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the United States in May.

The association says its aim is to provide "track and field athletes with a meaningful voice, to fight for stronger athletes' rights, and to seek an athletes first approach to our sport".

At its head is Taylor, who previously joined calls for an inquiry into Lord Coe's business dealings following a Telegraph Sport investigation into his role as World Athletics president.

The International Olympic Committee is this weekend due to appoint the double Olympic champion as a member, despite previously suspending him from joining because of his role as chairman of CSM Sport & Entertainment, a global branding agency which works with a number of sports stars and firms with links to the Olympics.

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Lord Coe's spokeswoman vehemently denies any conflict of interest or lack of transparency, but Taylor said greater scrutiny was still needed. "There is a possible conflict of interests that the IOC had previously recognised," he added, saying the sector needed to have a "pure agenda".

The Athletics Association says its aim is to engage in positive dialogue with the sport's governing body, World Athletics. "This association is for the athletes, by the athletes, and we are determined to make a real difference," Taylor added. "We firmly believe that we can affect positive change in our sport. We are ready for the challenge."

The Athletics Association has also agreed to a strategic partnership with Global Athlete, a progressive athlete start-up movement aiming to inspire greater athlete representation in organisations across the world of sport.

-Daily Telegraph UK