By David Owen

Richard Carrión behind name badgeAugust 2 - A leading candidate for the Presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called for cities with discriminatory laws to be stopped from winning the right to host the Olympic Games.

Richard Carrión, one of six IOC members vying to succeed Jacques Rogge in the most powerful job in world sport, said that: "a condition to getting the Olympic Games in the future should be to make sure the city does not have laws that discriminate against people in any way, consistent with the Olympic Charter".

The pronouncement was part of a pithy seven-sentence statement released by Carrión, triggered by the mounting outcry over Winter Olympic host Russia's contentious new gay hate law.

Signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, this imposes fines on individuals accused of spreading "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors

Gay pride rallies are also banned.

Carrión, a high-profile Puerto Rican banker with powerful connections on Wall Street, urged that "we should use all the avenues possible for influence and diplomacy with Russian officials, so that this legislation will not create a problem for our athletes.

He went on: "I am confident that the discussions going on now with the Russian authorities will help clarify the extent of the law and will ensure that our athletes will be protected.

"I strongly believe in equal rights, including the right to practice sport, for every human regardless of race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

"The Olympic Games celebrate humanity through respect, friendship and excellence.

"And one of the deepest core values of the Olympic Movement is 'sports as a human right'.

"Nothing should ever stand in the way of that."

Russia anti-gay protest protest 2International protests against Russia's new anti-gay laws introduced by President Vladimir Putin have cast a shadow over preparations for Sochi 2014

Carrión's intervention came as an anti-discrimination pressure group accused Russia of "flip flopping" on the treatment of gay individuals during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

A release from the All Out organisation sought to contrast comments made by senior Russian officials on consecutive days and to claim on this basis that Russia had "reversed course" on application of the law during the Sochi Games as international pressure mounted.

On Friday, All Out asserted - claiming that more than 270,000 members had joined the global outcry against what it termed the "anti-gay crackdown in Russia" - Igor Anaskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Physical Cultures, Sport and Youth Policy Committee, said this to Interfax:

"The Olympic Games is a major international event.

"We need to be as polite and tolerant as possible.

"That is why a decision has been made not to raise this issue during the Olympics."

This message would certainly appear to contrast with Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko's confirmation yesterday that any athletes who engaged in actively promoting homosexuality during Sochi 2014 would be punished.

"Russia's latest announcement does not go far enough," All Out said.

"The safety and dignity of gay and lesbian Russians cannot be turned on and off like a light switch.

"If Russia's anti-gay laws are so terrible that the Russian government needs to suspend them during international events...then they need to repeal the laws entirely.

"Pausing the anti-gay laws simply for the Olympics is outrageous."

Carrión's decision to go public on a human rights issue in this way may shape perceptions of him both within and outside the Olympic Movement, since he is generally portrayed, first and foremost, as the IOC's money man.

The other candidates in the race to succeed Rogge are: Thomas Bach of Germany, Sergey Bubka of Ukraine, Ser Miang Ng of Singapore, Denis Oswald of Switzerland and C.K. Wu of Taiwan.

The vote is due to take place at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires on September 10.