A photograph showing Juan Antonio Samaranch giving the fascist salute in honour of General Franco has sparked calls for him to stand down as life president of the International Olympic Committee.

The photograph, taken in 1974, shows Mr Samaranch at a celebration to mark the 38th anniversary of the coup staged by General Franco in 1936 and which led to his victory in the Spanish Civil War three years later.

The image was published in the August edition of Sapiens magazine, a historical publication.

Campaigners have called for Mr Samaranch’s resignation, claiming that his past links to the Franco regime are not compatible with the “democratic and fraternal ideals of world sport”.

Mr Samaranch's links to the Franco regime during its dying days in the mid-1970s have long proved controversial in Spain.

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