Alfons Hörmann, President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), is considering a German boycott of the European Games 2019 in the Belarus capital of Minsk following recent arrests of journalists there.
He told Deutschlandfunk that a boycott was "not excluded, if things continue to develop as last obviously happened on the ground".
In Belarus, which has been ruled by President Alexander Lukashenko for 24 years, there has been a wave of arrests of journalists in the past week.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) described the procedure as "completely disproportionate".
Deutsche Welle journalist Paulyuk Bykowski, one of a group accused of unlawfully accessing news from the state news agency, was released from custody last week.
Hörmann explained that the developments in Belarus were "worrying, which is why we will continue to follow this very closely".
But he said that, in general, the DOSB believes "boycotting is not a good instrument and can only come into question where completely unacceptable conditions exist".
He added that the DOSB must "in particular also take into account that in some sports Olympic qualifications for Tokyo 2020 will take place in Minsk".
"For us, the athletes are the focus, and their interests are naturally in the foreground," he said.
Hörmann also said that the financing of a German team for the second edition of the European Games in Minsk, from June 21 to 30, is not yet secured.
"We are in intensive and open discussions with the BMI, the Sports Committee and the Budget Committee about how we handle the Games, and ultimately the question arises as to whether we will definitely take part in it," he added.
"The DOSB has been reluctant to judge the European Games from the start, which has proved to be the right thing to do in retrospect, and one has to ask whether this format really matters to the athletes, the public and the European associations.
"An essential prerequisite for this would be to find suitable and universally accepted hosts for the future of European Games."