Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe: Football stars blast rules on bringing children to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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American football star Alex Morgan has blasted the International Olympic Committee for its stance on female athletes bringing children to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 organisers had prohibited family members of athletes from attending the Games due to COVID-19 regulations. Foreign spectators have also been barred and domestic crowds will be capped at up to 10,000 people.

The regulations led to a number of female athletes complaining they were being forced to choose between attending the Olympic Games or looking after their young children. Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher claimed she was being forced to decide between "being a breastfeeding mom or an Olympic athlete" because she was not able to bring her three-month old daughter to Tokyo.

Tennis legend Serena Williams previously suggested she would not be competing at Tokyo 2020 as it would mean spending time away from her three-year-old daughter. The 39-year-old has since confirmed she will not be at the Games.

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According to ESPN, organisers have since relaxed their stance on athletes bringing children to Tokyo. They must be accommodated in approved hotels, as the residential zone of the Olympic Village is restricted to just athletes and team officials.

“Given that the Tokyo 2020 Games will take place during a pandemic, overall we must unfortunately decline to permit athletes' family members or other companions to accompany them to the Games," organisers said.

“However, after careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with nursing children, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan.”

Morgan, who gave birth to her daughter in May 2020, still had issue with this statement.

“Still not sure what ‘when necessary’ even means,” the 31-year-old posted on Twitter. “Is that determined by the mother or the IOC? We are Olympic mothers telling you, it is NECESSARY. I have not been contacted about being able to bring my daughter with me to Japan and we leave in 7 days.”

Morgan has been supported on Twitter by her American teammate Megan Rapinoe, who wrote: “IOC is having a shocker here. If a mother/father/parent says it’s necessary, it’s NECESSARY!”

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Both Morgan and Rapinoe will be representing the United States in the women’s football contest at Tokyo 2020. After crashing out in the quarter-finals at Rio 2016, the American squad will be looking to make amends and clinch their fifth Olympic title.

Morgan will be an essential part of the US campaign. The forward has played 178 times for her country and hit the back of the net 110 times.

Morgan was still training while seven months pregnant last year, and then signed with Tottenham Hotspur in the Women’s Super League soon after giving birth to regain her fitness. She now plies her trade for NWSL side Orlando Pride.

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