The International Olympic Committee is awaiting clarifications from Russian officials on a controversial anti-gay law before commenting on its possible effect on athletes for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
IOC president Jacques Rogge told a news conference on Friday that the committee has received assurances from Sochi organizers but that some issues are still outstanding.
“There are still uncertainties. We have asked for further clarification before making a decision. We are not clear about the English translation of the Russian law,” Mr. Rogge said.
Mr. Rogge added: “The Games must be open free of discrimination.” Russia has enacted a federal law that bans propaganda of “non-traditional sexual orientation” to minors. The law stipulates that foreigners can be arrested and deported if convicted of violating it, and the Russian sports minister has declared it would be enforced in Sochi.
The bill triggered international outrage. Some activists have even called for boycotting the Olympics, scheduled for February 7-23, 2014.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday that “all the interests and rights will be protected” but also said that “you have to respect the laws of the country that you are coming to.” Mr. Rogge’s statements came after the traditional joint meeting of the IOC executive board and the council of the ruling athletics body IAAF on the eve of the athletics world championships.
The August 10-18 Moscow worlds are the first of several major sporting events in Russia, to be followed by the Sochi 2014 Games and the 2018 football World Cup.