IOC board member apologises for linking Russian ban to Nazis

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA: IOC board member Gian Franco Kasper has apologised for comparing a ban on Russia from the 2018 Olympics to persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.

Kasper, the long-time International Ski Federation president, says "it was an inappropriate and insensitive comment."

The 73-year-old Swiss official had been speaking on the sidelines of an IOC board meeting in 2018 host city Pyeongchang. Kasper compared a potential Olympic ban for Russia — as punishment for state-backed doping and cheating at the 2014 Sochi Games — with indiscriminate persecution by the Nazis.

In a statement released by the IOC, Kasper says: "I apologize unreservedly for any offence I have caused. I am truly sorry."

The IOC has set up two commissions to verify Russia's doping program before deciding on the country's Olympic participation.