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Putin slams 'politicisation' of sport

21 October 2015, 20:32

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin called Wednesday for international measures to prevent politics from spilling over into sport as the West continues to snub Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

"Sporting ideals and principles are more often becoming hostage to political opportunism," Putin said at the inaugural meeting of the world's Olympic associations in Moscow.

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"This goes against the philosophy of the Olympic movement, which is based on respect, justice and openness."

Russia is set to host the 2018 World Cup in 11 cities, despite calls by some foreign lawmakers to boycott the tournament over Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine crisis, where 18 months of clashes between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists have left over 8,000 dead.

Putin said a UN resolution that could "finally cement the de-politicisation of sport in international law" was needed.

"We advocate for sports to stay out of politics," he said.

Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and its subsequent support of pro-Russian insurgents in the country's east sank Russia's relations with the West to their post-Cold War nadir.

Russia's actions in Ukraine had fuelled calls to boycott the Sochi Paralympic Games, held just days before Russia's annexation of Crimea.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach echoed Putin's statements Wednesday, saying that any form of boycott was discriminatory and at odds with the Olympic spirit.

World football governing body FIFA embroiled in a large-scale corruption scandal partly over the award of the 2018 tournament to Russia has maintained that Russia would not be stripped of its right to host the World Cup.



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