Spyros Capralos is working with the IOC on Lesbos ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) will work together to develop programmes on the Greek island of Lesbos, to assist both local residents and its refugee population.

The IOC has already joined with the local authority to help rebuild a stadium in the island's village of Moria.

This followed an invitation last year from Spyros Capralos, President of the HOC.

A delegation from the IOC and the HOC, headed by Capralos and including Olympic sailing bronze medallists from Rio 2016, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis, have visited the island.

A demonstration of sailing was held at the port of Mytilene, involving local clubs and including participation from Mantis and Kagialis, who were third in the men's 470 competition in Rio.

The delegates also visited the refugee camp of Kara Tepe and gave sports equipment to the children. 

A visit to the stadium in Moria and a meeting with local political and cultural representatives was also part of the itinerary. 

Olympic sailing bronze medallists Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis are supporting the work in Lesbos ©Getty Images
Olympic sailing bronze medallists Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis are supporting the work in Lesbos ©Getty Images

Capralos said that since the refugee crisis broke out, IOC President Thomas Bach had taken initiatives as the Olympic Movement "fully understands the significance of the role of sport in relieving the refugee crisis". 

At the IOC Session in Lima, Peru, last month, Bach announced the launch of the Olympic Refuge Foundation, which will cooperate with the United Nations and will aim to create sports structures and programmes in areas where there is a refugee population.

This follows the first-ever Refugees Olympic Team competing at Rio 2016.

A number of refugees have reached Greek islands after fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

"We are pleased that the IOC is represented in Lesbos by its former vice president, Mario Pescante, who today has the important role of IOC's permanent observer at the UN," said Capralos.

"We are very lucky, because Mr Pescante being Italian, is well aware of the refugee crisis, as Italy and Greece are being particularly affected."

Capralos added that discussions were being held with Lesbos Mayor Spyros Galinos about the possibility of developing programmes involving both Italy and Greece.

The IOC and the Olympic Refuge Foundation will also be involved and will "contribute to the relief of the impact of the crisis on both refugees and local communities".