IOC Demands Clarifications Of Russia's Anti-Gay Law For Olympics Decision
The International Olympic Committee has finally turned up the pressure on the Russian government. After receiving a less than enthusiastic response from Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Thursday, IOC President Jacques Rogge has asked for clarifications on how the nation will treat LGBT Olympians if they head to Sochi to compete in the February 2014 Winter Games.
"We are waiting for the clarifications before having the final judgment on these reassurances," Rogge announced this morning.
"The Olympic charter is clear," Rogge said. "A sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation."
Even if Russia accepts that principle, the law leaves open the issue of athletes speaking freely during the games.
"As far as the freedom of expression is concerned, of course, this is something that is important," Rogge said. "But we cannot make a comment on the law" until the clarifications have been received.
The All Out advocacy group said it was happy with Rogge's comments.
"This is the strongest and most direct statement we have received from the International Olympic Committee. It shows the IOC is listening to the global outcry," All Out executive director Andre Banks said.