The IOC today reaffirmed the stance that local rules of discrimination will not be allowed to infiltrate the Olympic movement with a strongly worded statement of equality ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The concern has been around new Russian legislation that prohibits any “pro-homosexual propaganda” with punishments that can include jail time. This has created concerns among many fans and athletes over the ability of athletes to compete in Russia without fear of jailing.
A statement from the IOC today:
In his letter deputy Prime Minister Kozak underlines that ‘Russia has committed itself to comply strictly with the provisions of the Olympic Charter and its fundamental principles, according to item 6 of which “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
He adds that, ‘The Russian Federation guarantees the fulfillment of its obligations before the International Olympic Committee in its entirety.’
The IOC is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation. The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardise this principle.