The Olympic Association in Britain may face some legal charges over sponsorships regulations following the dissatisfaction of athletes competing in the upcoming Olympics.
According to the British Olympic Association (BOA), athletes partaking in the Olympics are constrained by Rule 40 of the IOC (International Olympic Committee). This rule defends the sole rights of official Olympic Game affiliates; however, it prevents participants from marketing their own sponsors. The athletes hashed out saying that this is an unfair practice that prevents them from benefiting from the biggest moments of their careers and lowers their earning possibilities.
At present, there are 12 distinctive brands registered as IOC affiliates that include global companies and Tokyo 2020 partners and sponsors. The BOA argues that the companies pay huge sums of amounts of money to use the Olympic trademarked imagery and phrases. These funds are necessary to run the Games they claim.
A legal letter was sent to the BOA arguing that the rules are unfair, unjust and ridiculous. The legal firm behind the litigation and fighting for the rights of the athletes is Brandsmiths. Amongst those listed as claimants are Adam Gemili, Laura Muir, Katarina Johnson- Thompson, Mo Farah, Laury Wightman, Lynsey Sharp, Martyn Rooney and Eilish McColgan.
The BOA stated that as an organization they do not receive any public funds and Rule 40 “is the protection that permits them to sponsor " for all athletes and teams for the Olympics.” Further, the body expresses that they acknowledge the accusations made by several of the athletes and that they will continue with their ongoing dialogue alongside the Athletes’ Commission as well as the broader athlete community regarding this crucial matter.
The body behind Team Britain (BOA) say that they are reviewing their rules and announced that they will put to use a new and more flexible application. However, they state that athletes will still not be permitted to advertise and publicize their own sponsors during the Olympic Games (outlined by the BOA rules) and must submit an application for consent several months ahead of the events for advertising campaigns.
The IOC relaxed their outlook on sponsorships restrictions earlier this year following a verdict made by the competition regulator in Germany stating that they are too stringent. After this ruling, the National Olympic Committees (NOC) are permitted to employ the revised regulation at their discretion.
Paralympic Committee, as well as the Olympic Committee of the United States, softened its stance on the sponsorship restrictions, permitting athletes to be given the chance to receive messages from sponsors congratulating them on their accomplishments and allow athletes to show their gratitude to personal sponsors. The personal sponsors were also permitted to participate in generic advertising.
The legal representative Adam Morallee, acting on behalf of the British athletes spoke to the BBC Sport and told them that however The German’s verdict is not binding in the courts of Britain, the case is a strong and clear one and he hopes to achieve similar results with this case. He points out that the athletes basically want equal results as Germany, and a chance to partake in sponsorship proceeds powered by the Olympics.