BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee has hailed a United Nations resolution recognizing the autonomy of sport as an important tool that will help foster political neutrality as well as lead to less boycotts and discrimination.
The resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly states it supported the independence and autonomy of sport as well as the mission of the IOC in leading the Olympic Movement.
“We highly welcome this resolution as a historic milestone in the relations between sport and politics,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement on Monday.
“We must form partnerships with political organizations based on this recognition of the autonomy of sport,” said Bach, who has spent a considerable amount of his 13 months in charge forging stronger ties with global politicians.
“The excellent relations between the U.N. and the IOC can in this respect serve as an example for relations on the national level between National Olympic Committees and national governments. This relationship with governments requires that sport always remains politically neutral,” he added.
The IOC is eager to have self-governance reinforced to avoid any interference with national Olympic bodies over which the authority has and wants to maintain sole control.
Past political disputes have spilled over into the Olympics, most famously leading to the United States and then Soviet Union boycotts at Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles four years later.
The IOC has also banned nations from competing at the Olympics over what it saw as government interference in those countries’ sports system.
The U.N. resolution also said any form of discrimination was incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.
The IOC, which came under fire over a Russian anti-gay propaganda law in the run-up to this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, has also included an anti-discrimination clause in its host contract for future candidate cities.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O'Brien