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IOC chief opposes Olympic boycott calls

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach on Wednesday hit out at calls for protests and a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics over Russia's anti-gay legislation.

But a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an Olympic truce during the Sochi Games included a landmark call for host countries "to promote social inclusion without discrimination of any kind."

Russia has faced a widespread Internet campaign and calls from celebrities and gay right groups for protests at Sochi over Russia's law banning gay propaganda.

"We oppose boycotts of any kind. Boycotts are a fundamental contradiction to the spirit of sport, depriving it of the means to continue working for peace, mutual understanding and solidarity," Bach told a UN debate on the truce call.

Bach did not mention the Russian laws or the appeals to boycott Sochi which starts in 93 days.

But he said that "sport has to enjoy responsible autonomy. And politics must respect this sporting autonomy."

Sport cannot "operate in a law-free environment," Bach added, however.

"It does mean that we respect national laws which are not targeted against sport and its organizations alone, sometimes for chiefly political reasons," Bach said.

tw/jm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131106/ioc-chief-opposes-olympic-boycott-calls