International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge could face tricky questions about Russia’s anti-gay laws when he makes an appearance on the eve of the World Athletics Championships in Moscow today.
Yesterday, world athletics chief Lamine Diack, the president of world governing body the IAAF, said he had “no problem whatsoever” with the recently introduced controversial legislation.
In June, president Vladimir Putin signed a law that forbids the spreading of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors.
Diack said the new law should be respected. However, it has been widely condemned, with opponents including United States president Barack Obama and British broadcaster and actor Stephen Fry.
Fry has called for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi to be taken away from Russia as a result.
In a strongly worded open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, Fry compared Russia hosting the Games in Sochi with Germany’s staging of the Summer Olympics under Adolf Hitler in 1936.
Diack did not join the dissenting voices, when he said yesterday in a press conference: “I don’t feel there is a problem whatsoever.
“Russia has their laws. Each athlete can have their own private life, so we won’t call upon people about this and that.
“This law has to be respected. We are here for the World Championships and have no problem whatsoever and I’m not worried at all.”
Belgian Rogge is due to join Diack at a further press conference this morning.
Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko was quick to defend the new law yesterday.
“Well, I want to ask you to calm down,” he said. “In addition to this law, we have a constitution that guarantees all rights to private life.
“This law is not intended to deprive any people of any religion, of any race, of any sexual orientation, but to ban the promotion of non-traditional relations among the younger generations.
“All sports athletes and organisations should be relaxed. All their rights will be protected.
“You have to respect the laws of the country you are coming to. This is a sports festival and we only have to talk about it.”