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SBD Global/August 23, 2013/Olympics

Russia Gives IOC Assurance Anti-Gay Law Won't Affect 2014 Sochi Games

IOC President Jacques Rogge said he was assured by Russia that the country's anti-gay law won't affect Games.
Russia has assured the IOC that a controversial anti-gay law which has triggered protests in many countries "will not affect athletes or spectators" attending the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The IOC, which "had asked for clarifications" regarding the law this month, said that Russia "had committed to comply with the Olympic Charter." IOC President Jacques Rogge said, "We have today received strong written reassurances from the Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the Games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation." Rogge added, "In his letter Deputy Prime Minister (Dmitry) 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'" (REUTERS, 8/22). The AP reported Kozak "did not back down on the issue of the new law." Kozak said the law applies equally to everyone and "cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation." The letter "still leaves open the question of what would happen to Olympic athletes or fans if they make statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda" (AP, 8/22).

FIFA ASKS FOR CLARIFICATION: BLOOMBERG's David Biller reported FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said that the organization "won't accept any form of discrimination"at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Valcke: "We are waiting for this clarification, but we will for sure enter into a discussion with them and won’t accept any discrimination." Valcke added, "It’s not just about the World Cup; it’s about every day" (BLOOMBERG, 8/21).
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