New York, Aug 9 (ANI): Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has urged critics of the country's new anti-gay laws to calm down and said that the rights of all athletes competing at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi will be respected.
According to the New York Daily News, the minister, however, did insist that athletes would have to respect the laws of the country during the Feb 7-23 games in the Black Sea resort in southern Russia.
The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies, the report said.
Mutko said that the athletes can come and compete and the chase for medals should be their primary concern, adding that it was a sports festival and talks should be only about that.
Mutko raised concern last week among gay rights advocates with comments that the law would be enforced during the Sochi Games, the report added.
The International Association of Athletics Federations has urged Russia to reconsider its views on gay rights, but the head of track and field's ruling body indicated on Thursday the federation did not want to raise political issues about the law, the report further said. (ANI)