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Olympic head says Sochi boycott political 'exploitation'

Actions against Russia belong at G8, not sports, says Malagò

05 March, 17:31
Olympic head says Sochi boycott political 'exploitation' (ANSA) - Rome, March 5 - Decisions by the United States and Great Britain to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Paralympics amount to "political exploitation," the head of Italy's Olympic committee (Coni) Giovanni Malagò said Wednesday.

Both countries will participate in the Paralympics but have said they won't take part in Friday's opening ceremonies to protest Russia's involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.

That is wrongly mixing politics and sports, said Malagò.

"It is a topic for (a political body) such as the G8," Group of Eight leading industrial nations, he said.

"This is really exploiting not only the Olympics but the Paralympics (for political use)", said Malagò.

Luca Pancalli, president of the Italian Paralympic Committee agreed.

"We go there to celebrate a sporting event," he said.

"There is no form of protest or boycott by our delegation".