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Russia could be banned from hosting Olympics again over anti-gay laws

IOC spokesman says countries who do not abide by an anti-discrimination rule could factor in decisions on the bidding process

Russia, and other countries with homophobic laws, could be banned from hosting the Olympics under a proposed new rule.

The International Olympics Committee has responded to calls that countries must abide by a specific anti-discrimination decree modelled on the Olympic Charter’s Principle 6.

Principle 6 says sport does not discriminate on any grounds, including race, religion, politics or gender.

Critics have accused the IOC of turning a blind eye to anti-gay legislation in Russia. And while Russian officials told the IOC before the Olympics began that they would not discriminate against gay people around a hundred people have been arrested since Sochi began.

When asked by reporters if a rule based on Principle 6 could become a pre-condition for cities campaigning to host the Games, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said: ‘Could it be changed? It can be changed.’

After taking office, IOC President Thomas Bach launched the Agenda 2020 –a wide ranging review of the Olympics.

‘We are, as you know, in the middle of Agenda 2020 which is looking at just about everything on how Olympics are run,’ Adams said.

‘[Principle 6] is not something that is specifically looked at but if there is a groundswell of opinion it could be.’

GSN contacted the IOC to clarify the statement, but they refused to comment any further.

Human rights campaigning group All Out are calling on the IOC to make the Principle 6 rule an enforceable binding condition for all applications.

But others suggest if the IOC does introduce the rule, it could merely be a factor that could be overruled by other factors.

If the IOC does make a decision, it will not impact the upcoming Olympic Games such as Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2016, Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018, and Tokyo, Japan in 2020.

Ukraine’s Lviv, Beijing, Norwegian capital Oslo, Poland’s Krakow and Kazakhstan’s Almaty are in the running for the 2022 Winter Olympics with a decision to be made next year.

‘IOC President Thomas Bach must learn the lesson from the anti-gay fiasco in Russia and ensure this never happens again,’ said Andre Banks, co-founder and Executive Director of All Out, an international gay rights group.

All Out are calling on those who agree that countries with anti-gay laws should not host the Olympics to sign their petition here.

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