French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu and IOC President Thomas Bach signed the agreement ©IOC

French Minister for Sport Roxana Maracineanu has signed an agreement pledging financial support to the Olympic Refuge Foundation ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Maracineanu signed the agreement in Lausanne with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who chairs the Olympic Refuge Foundation.

The Olympic Refuge Foundation was founded by the IOC in 2017 following the first appearance of the Refugee Olympic Team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The foundation is aimed at using sport to protect and support young people affected by the displacement of populations worldwide.

It is claimed 200,000 young people in six countries are benefiting from sports programmes designed to improve their well-being and social inclusion.

The foundation works with more than 80 organisations as part of the Sport for Refugees Coalition to improve access to sport.

"This agreement will enable the Olympic Refuge Foundation to achieve its goal of expanding into urban areas and in this way reach not only refugees and migrants, but also their host communities building solidarity," said Bach.

"I would like to thank in particular President Emmanuel Macron, who was the initiator of this support for the Olympic Refuge Foundation on the French side, and his Government."

Maracineanu said the French Government is working with the Olympic Refuge Foundation to help refugees living in the host country in the lead-up to the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

Projects are being supported by the French Ministry of Sport, Paris 2024, the City of Paris and a number of French and international non-governmental organisations.

"I am convinced that sport is a powerful tool for integration and emancipation," Maracineanu said.

"I’m also proud that, looking ahead to Paris 2024, the French Government is working hand-in-hand with the IOC’s Foundation to support - through sport - migrants and refugees hosted in our country."

It is hoped an initial activities programme can be launched in the Paris region during the course of 2021.

By the time of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, the Olympic Refuge Foundation hopes to provide one million young people affected by displacement with access to sport.