Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed that next year's BRICS Games will not be a rival to the Olympics ©Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed next year's BRICS Games in Kazan is intended to "complement" not rival the Olympics.

The controversial multi-sport event organised by members of the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa group is set to take place from June 12 to 23 next year in Kazan, just over one month before the start of the Olympics in Paris on July 26.

There remains ongoing uncertainty over Russia's inclusion at Paris 2024, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stressing a decision has not been taken despite lifting a recommended blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes in March in favour of an approach allowing them to compete as individual neutrals if they do not support the war in Ukraine and are not affiliated to the military.

Russian officials have downplayed descriptions of the BRICS Games as a rival to the Olympics, and Lavrov reiterated that position.

"No," he told Russia's state-run news agency TASS.

"Just as BRICS as an interstate association is strengthening and expanding, and will continue to expand, not against anyone, but exclusively in the interests of the participating countries, in the same way, the BRICS Sports Games are not conceived against the Olympic movement, but as a complement to the Olympic Movement."

Lavrov, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who has been hit by sanctions since the start of the war in Ukraine, also launched an attack on IOC President Thomas Bach, claiming the Olympic Movement "is turning into an instrument of Western policy".

Up to 72 nations are expected to compete at the BRICS Games in Kazan next year ©Getty Images
Up to 72 nations are expected to compete at the BRICS Games in Kazan next year ©Getty Images

"This is absolutely obvious," Lavrov claimed.

"Just as the World Anti-Doping Agency at one time was turned into such a tool, and for many years they tried to undermine competitors from our country on various international platforms, grossly abusing anti-doping rules, accusing - groundlessly, repeatedly - our great athletes."

Tatarstan Sports Minister Vladimir Leonov claimed 70 to 72 nations will be invited to the BRICS Games, with 25 or 26 sports expected to be on the programme.

Leonov suggested to TASS the BRICS Games can serve as "a pre-Olympic training camp".

Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are set to join the BRICS bloc from the start of next year.

The IOC continues to recommend events are not held in Russia or Belarus.

Russia previously staged a Winter Paralympics replacement event in Khanty-Mansiysk after their athletes were banned from Beijing 2022.

It was attended by five countries, and other events planned include a "World Friendship Games" after Paris 2024.