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BERLIN (Reuters) - A new clause aimed at ensuring the Olympics are free from any form of discrimination will be included in future Games host city contracts after the Sochi 2014 Olympics were marred by a controversial Russian anti-gay propaganda law.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a letter to bidders for the 2022 winter Olympics that the new clause based on its own Principle Six would be part of future Games host contracts.
This was the result "of the experience gained by the IOC in previous editions of the Olympic Games," said the Games Executive Director Christoph Dubi in the letter.
He said the changes were aimed at "addressing certain potential concerns for candidate cities and future host cities, in the spirit of good faith and cooperation, and taking into consideration certain comments made by the candidate cities."
"An express reference was included to the prohibition of any form of discrimination, using the wording of Fundamental Principle Six of the Olympic Charter," he said.
Russia had caused a furor after passing the controversial gay propaganda law that critics said curtailed homosexuals' rights in the country and left them open to discrimination.
Russia had said at the time it wanted to protect minors but the issue dominated media headlines in the run-up to February's Olympics.
The IOC's Principle Six states that "any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."
"This is a significant step in ensuring the protection of both citizens and athletes around the world and sends a clear message to future host cities that human rights violations, including those against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, will not be tolerated,” said Andre Banks, executive director of All Out, an LGBT rights group in a statement.
"This is a particularly important moment for the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens who face discrimination and persecution not only in Russia but in countries all over the world."
Kazakhstan's Almaty, China's Beijing and Norwegian capital Oslo are bidding for the 2022 winter Olympics.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond