The Olympic Charter has been amended to explicitly safeguard lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes, after concerns about homophobia at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The International Olympic Committee today unanimously voted through an amendment which formally protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people from discrimination.

The charter already outlawed discrimination on the grounds of “race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise” – but now sexuality will be explicitly included.

The IOC did not vote on a separate proposal, which would have added gender identity to the list of protected characteristics.

Earlier this year, a non-discrimination clause was added to the host city contract.

Andre Banks of All Out said: “The Olympic Movement has now stood up for love and equality by officially recognizing gay, lesbian and bi athletes and fans”

“This gain was made possible because of the global outcry demanding ‘No More Sochis’, including from hundreds of thousands of All Out members.

“We will continue to push to make sure this change is reflected in the selection of new host cities and expanded to include protections for gender identity.”

Hudson Taylor of Athlete Ally said: “There is no greater sign of progress in combating homophobia in sports than to have the oldest organized athletic competition in the history of the world saying enough is enough.

“The Olympic Charter took a major step today recognizing that the practice of sport is a human right and that every individual must be able to practice without discrimination.”