British athletes will be awarded more freedom to promote their sponsors that this year’s upcoming Tokyo Olympics after an agreement was reached with the British Olympic Association (BOA).
The agreement comes after legal action was taken to the BOA by a group of athletes including Laura Muir, Katarina Johnson Thompson and Adam Gemili over the International Olympic Committee’s ‘Rule 40’. The athletes argued that ‘Rule 40’ reduces their potential earnings whilst performing at perhaps the biggest competition of their lives.
‘Rule 40’ prevents athletes from promoting their personal sponsors during the Olympics in order to protect the rights of the official sponsors of the Games.
The BOA announced today that “greater level of commercial freedom” would be given to athletes at Tokyo, with new guidelines expected to follow this announcement.
Adam Gemili the lead claimant in the case brought by Brandsmiths law firm has featured at two Olympic Games in London and Rio de Janeiro and released a statement alongside the BOA after the announcement was made.
“As an athlete group, we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the BOA that moves us into line with other Olympic federations and that provides every athlete with an equal and fair chance to generate sponsorship revenue in the build-up to and during the Games.
“I would like to say thank you to the BOA for facilitating open dialogue and recognising and addressing the concerns of the athlete body.”
The new rules negotiated with the BOA and athletes will allow athletes to broadcast “thank you” messages to their sponsors and promote them in the build-up, during and following the Games.
Andy Anson, the BOA’s chief executive said the new agreement would be mutually beneficial for both athletes and the BOA’s own sponsors.
“This agreement allows athletes to further benefit from their personal sponsors whilst balancing the needs of the BOA to raise funds to support all athletes at the Games.
“We have always been and will continue to be supportive of athletes maximising their earning potential and having sponsors at a national or local level.”