IOC does not recognise Lukashenko son's Belarus Olympic vote

FILE PHOTO: Newly-appointed head of the Belarusian Olympic Committee Viktor Lukashenko attends a meeting in Minsk, Belarus February 26, 2021. Sergei Sheleg/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee on Monday refused to recognise the election of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's son Viktor as head of the country's Olympic Committee.

With both father and son having already been banned from attending the Olympic Games as part of provisional measures taken by the IOC in December, the Olympic body said it did not recognise Viktor's Feb. 26 election to the top position of the national Olympic Committee (NOC).

Viktor succeeded his father as head of the NOC.

"The IOC also noted with great disappointment that the NOC had failed to fully address ... that the previous leadership ... had not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination," the IOC said in a statement.

It said the IOC Executive Board during its meeting on Monday decided not recognise Lukashenko' election as the new president and upheld all provisional measures taken in December.

The IOC has said Belarus athletes had not been protected from political discrimination during the country's recent political turmoil.

Alexander Lukashenko, who had served as the head of the Belarusian Olympic Committee since 1997, claimed his sixth presidential term in August last year in a vote the opposition says was rigged and marred with violations.

He denies electoral fraud and has been accused of orchestrating a massive crackdown on protesters who took to the streets in the wake of last year's contested election, as well as targeting elite athletes who openly backed the opposition.

The IOC in December banned Lukashenko and his son from attending the Games and excluded them from all other IOC activities while also suspending any payments to the national committee except those to support athletes in qualifying for the Olympic Games.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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