Alfons Hörmann, left, had previously suggested Germany could boycott the Games ©Getty Images

German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) will send a team to the 2019 European Games in Minsk having opted against boycotting the event in Belarus’ capital city.

DOSB President Alfons Hörmann admitted the organisation were considering a boycott last August.

It followed a series of arrests of journalists in Belarus. 

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) described the procedure as "completely disproportionate".

Hörmann had added that, in general, the DOSB believes "boycotting is not a good instrument and can only come into question where completely unacceptable conditions exist".

He claimed fact the European Games offering qualification opportunities for next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo should be taken into account with athletes interest being the focus.

A statement from the DOSB today revealed this was the "deciding factor" which led to the decision to send a team to the Games.

In addition to the 10 competitions which will act as Tokyo 2020 qualifiers, the DOSB claim the Games will be a "season highlight" in other sports.

The decision to travel to Minsk 2019 was taken after a detailed consultation, it is claimed, with the DOSB admitting the topic of human rights will be discussed with the host nation in the build-up to the Games.

"In the tradition of past multi-sport events, such as the first European Games 2015 in Baku and most recently the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, the DOSB will intensively deal with the host country in preparation and on-site," the DOSB stated.

"Topics such as the human rights situation, the common history of Germans and Belorussians and the geopolitical situation will play a central role.

"The DOSB will be advised by experts from the Federal Foreign Office as well as non-governmental organisations."

The Belarus regime, led by President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994 has been accused of persecuting against non-Governmental organisations, independent journalists, national minorities and opposition politicians.

Concerns have been raised over human rights in Belarus, led by the country's President Alexander Lukashenko ©Getty Images
Concerns have been raised over human rights in Belarus, led by the country's President Alexander Lukashenko ©Getty Images

Lukashenko was denied a visa by Britain to attend the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Belarus ranks 155th out of 180 countries for press freedom in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

The only European countries that rank lower are Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Last year, the United Nations' Human Rights Council extended a mandate for their special rapporteur in Belarus for a further year, along with measures in Eritrea and Syria.

Miklós Haraszti, who served as the special rapporteur in Belarus, told the UN General Assembly in October that there was a deteriorating "wholescale oppression" of human rights in Belarus.

Crackdowns on the media and Belarus remaining the only country in Europe which still applies the death penalty were key concerns raised.

European Olympic Committees (EOC) officials have promised that media will have "free access" to report on the Minsk 2019.

Denmark and Norway voted against Minsk being awarded the Games, while Britain and Germany were among five countries to abstain from the vote.

The DOSB expect to send a team of 150 athletes to the Games, due to take place from June 21 to 30.

The German Parliament approved funding of €300,000 (£260,000/$340,000) in November to help participation at the Games.