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A team of refugees will compete at this summer’s Olympics in Rio.

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A total of 43 prospective athletes have been identified for the Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA), which will compete under the Olympic flag.

“By welcoming ROA to the Olympic Games in Rio, we want to send a message of hope to all the refugees of the world,” said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

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“This team will be treated like all the other teams.”

As well as sporting ability, selection criteria will include personal circumstances and United Nations-verified refugee status.

Athletes will then be supported with funds to train.

“This team may end up between five and 10 athletes maybe,” said Bach. “We have no target. It depends very much on the sporting qualifications.”

The ROA will be housed in the athletes’ village and will enter the opening ceremony as the penultimate team, ahead of hosts Brazil.

The IOC also issued assurances over the Zika virus, slow ticket sales, water pollution and facilities.

Fewer than half of tickets sold

So far, fewer than half of the 7.5 million tickets issued for the Games, which will run from 5-21 August, have been sold.

Sales of more expensive tickets for premium events and the opening ceremony mean ticket revenues have reached 74% or $195m (£139m), but the build-up to the Games has been overshadowed by an economic downturn in Brazil, political turmoil and Zika.

The 2012 Olympics in London reached its revenue target from ticket sales months before the start because of huge demand and, overall, 96% of the 8.2 million tickets were sold.

`”I have no concerns at all there,” said Bach.

“Brazilians, they do not buy tickets at such an early stage, as the British or the Germans. There is no concern at all. We had comparable figures before other Olympic Games.

“I have no doubt that when the time comes, these numbers will increase.”