IOC respects Lukashenko ban: Rogge

July 27th, 2012 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge says his organization respects the decision of the British Home Office to deny London Games accreditation to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko is banned from travel to the European Union and had his assets frozen after a disputed 2010 presidential vote, when he was accused of overseeing a brutal crackdown on opposition forces, arresting hundreds of people including presidential candidates.

An IOC representative told R-Sport that Lukashenko had been among 204 heads of state invited to the Games before the Home Office declined his accreditation.

“Mr. Lukashenko has been denied entry to the UK because he is on a blacklist from the EU on travel to the United Kingdom, and we respect that,” Rogge said in his final news conference before Friday’s opening ceremony.

The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, blasted the move as politics interfering in sport.

Russia and Belarus share close political ties.

“The organising committee in London did not give accreditation to National Olympic Committee President Alexander Lukashenka. Isn’t sports outside politics,” Zhukov said.

Lukashenka sent off his Olympic team to London earlier this month, setting them a target of 25 medals including five golds.

Lukashenka, labelled by the United States as Europe’s last dictator, said in mid-July he thought the games were “politicised”.

The Olympics run until Aug 12.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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