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IOC outlaws homophobia in Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms

By Kath Hudson    10 Dec 2014
IOC president Thomas Bach is eager to hasten progress

The International Olympic Committee has unanimously agreed on its biggest reforms in decades, which will encourage more equality, tolerance and flexibility in future Olympic Games.

In a move welcomed by LGBT rights activists, there will be a revision of the non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. Coming in the wake of the Sochi Winter Olympics, when Russian legislation banned “gay propaganda” prior to the games, this change is being added to Principle 6 of the Olympic charter, which bans discrimination on the basis of race, religion and gender.

Prospective bidders for the 2022 winter games have been notified and this could be a big test, since gays and lesbians face discrimination in both finalist cities: Beijing, China, and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The IOC has also agreed to work with international federations to have a greater number of women participate in the games: it wants to achieve 50:50 participation and encourage mixed-gender events.

Other revisions included a reform package which will make bidding for the games less expensive and gives hosts greater flexibility to stage the games, even joining forces with neighbouring countries.

The cap of 28 sports for the Summer Games has been replaced with an “events-based” system, which will allow host cities to propose new competitions, while keeping about 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events.

IOC president Thomas Bach, who initiated the Olympic Agenda 2020 discussions, said to the committee: “Olympic Agenda 2020 is like a jigsaw puzzle, now that you have approved all 40 recommendations you can see the whole picture. It is a picture of progress. It is a picture that ensures the uniqueness of the Olympic Games. It is a picture that promotes the Olympic values. And it is a picture that strengthens sport in society.”

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