IOC Ask Russia to Explain Anti-Gay Law as Pressure on Sochi 2014 Mounts

August 9, 2013

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked Russia to explain how the country’s new anti-gay propaganda law will be implemented and how it will affect the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

IOC president Jacques Rogge (pictured left) has said they have received assurances from Sochi 2014 organisers, but clarification is still needed on certain points of the law.

Rogge said: “We don’t think it is a fundamental issue, more a translation issue.”

However, pressure has been mounting on the IOC to strip Russia of the event, with critics saying the law, which was passed by president Vladimir Putin (pictured right), effectively disallows all gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute people supporting homosexuality.

Reports also claim that Russian police are turning a blind-eye to gay hate crimes, with numerous videos on YouTube showing homosexual supporters being beaten and abused.

A number of high-profile people have voiced their disgust at Russia’s law, including US President Barack Obama, Stephen Fry and IOC presidential candidate Richard Carrion.

Rogge said on the issue: “We have received all reassurances emanating from Mr Dmitry Kozak, who is in charge of the organisation of the Games in Sochi. We asked for written confirmation of these reassurances.

“We received them yesterday, we have studied it this morning but there are still uncertainties and we have decided to ask for more clarification as of today. So we are waiting for this clarification before having final judgement on these reassurances.”

Lost in translation

When asked what the IOC specifically needed to clarify on the new law, Rogge replied: “We are not clear about the English translation of the Russian law and we want clarification of this translation to be able to understand what has been communicated to us.

“This is about a couple of paragraphs – we don’t understand all the details because of probably a difficulty in translation. We don’t think it is a fundamental issue, more of a translation issue.”

Rogge spoke about the Olympic charter and continued: “It says 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. Our position is very clear but as we don’t have all (the) full details of a good comprehension of the law we cannot make any comment on that.”

Russia is hosting the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships and Russia’s sports minister Vitali Mutko said: “All the athletes and organisations should be relaxed, their rights will be protected… but of course you have to respect the laws of the country you are in.”

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