19 Aug 2013

IOC president says anti-gay laws must not affect Sochi Winter Games

6:07 am on 19 August 2013

The president of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge has insisted the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi must remain open to all despite the Russian government's controversial anti-gay laws.

The 71 year old Belgian, who ends 12 years as IOC president next month, says sport is a human right which must be accessible to all, regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

The law, which parliament passed in June, bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies.

But Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

said before the world athletics championships that critics should calm down, and that the rights of athletes competing in Sochi next year will be respected.