IOC board member apologises 'unreservedly' for Holocaust comparison

Gian-Franco Kasper
Gian-Franco Kasper is president of the International Ski Federation

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) board member has apologised for comparing calls to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics to the Holocaust.

Gian-Franco Kasper, a Swiss ski official, made the comparison during an IOC board meeting in Pyeongchang.

The board is debating whether to suspend the entire Russian team from the Games following a doping scandal.

"I apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused. I am truly sorry," Franco Kasper said.

The International Ski Federation President was discussing a proposed blanket ban on Russian athletes when he made the Holocaust comment, referring to the World War II genocide that saw six million Jews killed by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

He reportedly said: "I'm just against bans or sanctioning of innocent people. Like Mr Hitler did - all Jews were to be killed, independently of what they did or did not do."

When challenged by reporters at the time, Franco Kasper responded: "Why not? Of course it's more extreme. But just the fact that the place you come from makes you guilty, I'm not OK for this, really not."

Russia did not receive a blanket ban from the IOC from the 2016 Olympics in Rio, opting to leave the decision to individual sports' governing bodies.

A report in December 2016 claimed Russian medallists from summer and winter Olympics had benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015.

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