The Russian Sports Minister has again spoken in defence of an anti-gay law passed earlier this year, this time to say that the law may have caused so much controversy because of its timing, rather than its contents.

Vitaly Mutko, the Sports Minister in Russia, told the RBK newspaper that the law which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, only caused so much controversy because it was passed so close to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

He said: “Perhaps the state authorities should have waited a little. … It was possible to calculate how much resonance it would cause in the West, especially in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics.”

Mutko was also quoted on Monday to have said that foreign opposition to the law reflects a resentment of the strength of his country.

The Minister in August claimed that international concern over his country’s discriminatory laws, and subsequent calls to boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia, is an “invented problem”.