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Freedom for Women Mandatory for Olympic Bidders

23 January 2015

IOC: President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach has made a strong statement against discrimination.

The IOC leader, in Davos for the World Economic Forum, said countries like Saudi Arabia must allow female athletes to “freely participate” and a commitment to “non-discrimination” will be mandatory for countries hoping to bid for the Olympics in the future.

“If this is not applied, the bid would not be admissible,” Bach said, according to the BBC.

Saudi Arabia came under fire in October for not including any female athletes in its delegation to the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

Bach acknowledged the “political implications” of many of the decisions made by the IOC, but said the body has to remain “politically neutral” to “ensure that the rules of sport can be applied worldwide and that there are not different rules in different countries.”

The IOC’s move toward setting higher expectations for Olympic host nations began in 2013 when then-future Winter Olympic host Sochi passed laws outlawing certain aspects of homosexuality. In the time following those Games, Bach added a clause to Olympic host city contracts forbidding discrimination on the part of local governments.

He also pointed to the Olympic Charter, which mandates a host of freedoms for all athletes.

Bach then pointed out the powers of the IOC are not a panacea.

“This is the only area we are responsible for. We are not a super-government.”

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