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IOC welcomes Saudi end to girls' sports ban

GENEVA, Switzerland--The International Olympic Committee on Sunday urged the Saudi government to push forward with moves to lift a ban on sports in girls' state schools.

The conservative Muslim kingdom's consultative Shura Council last week recommended an end to the ban, which was relaxed in private schools last year, state media reported.

“We welcome this development and look forward to approval by the Education Ministry,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said in a statement.

The ministry must officially lift the ban as the council is influential, but only advisory.

Adams noted that IOC president Thomas Bach had raised women's involvement in sport when he visited Saudi Arabia.

“On the IOC President's visit to Saudi Arabia last week the National Olympic Committee outlined plans to increase women's

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