The International Olympic Committe are set to come under fire after it emerged Saudi Arabia look likely to be the only nation competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games without a single female among their team.
Having discussed the issue in Quebec on Thursday, the IOC's talks resulted in them not imposing any sanctions on the Middle Easterners.
Thursday's meeting ostensibly represented the final deadline for the country to agree to women being part of their London delegation, otherwise they would have been deemed to be in breach of the IOC’s charter.
And although the governing body remain keen to persuade the Saudi Arabians to make a U-turn, they are likely to draw criticism from international human rights groups.
Human Rights Watch's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said: “Saudi Arabia is the last hold-out denying women and girls the ability to take part in sports.
“The Saudi government’s position should trigger serious scrutiny by the Olympic family. The dismal and unequal conditions for women and girls who seek to practice sports in Saudi Arabia need to change now.”
The London Games were set to be the first where every nation included a woman in their delegation, but the Saudis seem set to successfully resist such calls.
Earlier this year, Saudi Olympic Committee president Prince Nawaf bin Faisal refused to endorse female participation in the English capital.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia fielded all-male teams, but this year the former two have confirmed they female athletes will represent their countries.
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