The ISU are investigating alleged homophobic comments made about  Guillaume Cizeron after he and his partner Gabriella Papadakis won the Finlandia Trophy earlier this month ©Getty Images

An investigation has been launched by the International Skating Union (ISU) into homophobic remarks allegedly made by a Russian coach about French ice dancers Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis at this month's Finlandia Trophy.

Cizeron, an Olympic silver medallist at Pyeongchang 2018 and four-time world champion with Papadakis, came out as gay in May 2020.

The duo were competing at the Finlandia Trophy, an ISU Challenger Series event in Finland, where the alleged homophobic comments were reported.

Alexander Vedenin, a former international judge and coach from Russia, sparked controversy when he claimed the French team were "cold" because Cizeron does not have a "traditional orientation" in an interview with Russian television channel Match TV.

Cizeron and Papadakis - one of the main contenders for gold at Beijing 2022 - won the Finlandia Trophy in what was their first international competition together in almost two years.

"The French Papadakis and Cizeron are very good," said Vedenin as reported by French newspaper L'Équipe.

"During their absence, they continued to skate, improved their speed and gained in physical condition.

"They skated beautifully.

"And will be hard to beat. It will be necessary to play on an idea of the dance, new elements, as well as feelings!

"The French skate with class, but are cold.

"The partner does not have a traditional orientation [euphemism for gay] and he cannot hide it.

"Sinitsina and Katsalapov can express true love, like last year, and it can lead them to a victory."

Guillaume Cizeron released his autobiography, entitled
Guillaume Cizeron released his autobiography, entitled "Ma Plus Belle Victoire", earlier this year after coming out as gay in May 2020 ©Getty Images

Following the event, which concluded on October 10, the French Ice Sports Federation (FFSG) issued a letter to the ISU calling on the organisation to take action against discriminatory comments.

Although the letter, which was sent to ISU President Jan Dijkema, did not specifically refer to Vedenin’s remarks, FFSG President Nathalie Péchalat insisted the world governing body "can’t remain silent in front of this surge of hate" towards Cizeron and Papadakis.

Péchalat claimed the two ice dancers had been “targeted, not on a sporting level but due to Guillaume(‘s) sexual orientation” for the past few months.

"These people try to harm us," Péchalat wrote.

"We can’t be blind.

"We hope for respect between everyone and for a battle only on the ice."

Speaking to French TV channel France3 in response to Vedenin’s comments, Cizeron said: "I have endured worse attacks.

"It’s like when people say a gay actor can’t play a hetero man in a film. (If that were the case), there would be a lot of unemployed Hollywood actors.

"People want to see a performance.

"They want to see emotion, virtuosity, a connection.

"I think it’s false to say people look for 'real love" on the ice'."

ISU President Jan Dijkema has been urged to take action against homophobic comments in the sport ©Getty Images
ISU President Jan Dijkema has been urged to take action against homophobic comments in the sport ©Getty Images

The ISU announced that it was investigating "reported homophobic comments by a coach who is not an ISU official" which it said could result in disciplinary action.

"The ISU strongly condemns any statements of a homophobic, racist, discriminatory or prejudicial nature," the ISU statement read.

"There is no place for harassing and abusive remarks and behavior in sport and our society.

"In this regard, ISU policies and decisions will be guided by the  ISU Code of Ethics, in particular Article 4, which prohibits all persons who involve themselves with the ISU in any capacity whatsoever to “discriminate in any kind against anyone on the basis of reasons such as race, color, sex which includes sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, or athletic ability.

"Any person involved in ISU activities who does not respect the prohibition of discrimination is subject to disciplinary proceedings.

"The ISU will continue its objective to promote figure and speed skating sports and to foster their development on the basis of friendship, mutual understanding and inclusiveness among all athletes and participants in ISU activities."