IOC reforms commercial opportunities for athletes, bidding process

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International Olympic Committee announcing major reforms has issued new guidelines for commercial opportunities for participants during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as well and bidding process for hosting the Games.

The IOC session in Lausanne has itself decided on a change to bye-law of Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter regarding sponsorship opportunities for the athletes participating in the Olympic Games.

Athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement, and supporting them at all levels, on and off the field of play, is a priority for the IOC. The principles seek to clarify the commercial opportunities during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and put athletes and other Olympic Games participants in a better position to work with their personal sponsors in a manner consistent with their rights and responsibilities under the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration and the Olympic Charter.

The new principles represent a balance between, on the one hand, protecting and maintaining Olympic marketing programmes to ensure funding of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement, and, on the other hand, the individual athlete’s rights to generate income in relation to their sporting career, name and likeness.

The National Olympic Committees will be responsible for the implementation in their respective territory, while taking into consideration their specific applicable legal framework, and will receive the guidelines soon.

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The Bye-law 3 of Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter has been amended as follows:

“Competitors, team officials and other team personnel who participate in the Olympic Games may allow their person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games in accordance with the principles determined by the IOC Executive Board.”

“The amendments of the Olympic Charter made today show a clear demonstration of the new approach of the IOC, which is based on openness and flexibility, without infringing the existing agreements. We want to look at this in a positive way and we want to be as liberal as possible without affecting the sponsorships contracts of the NOCs. We are protecting them and that’s why we don’t have a one size fits all solution. I don’t think such a solution exists”, said IOC President Thomas Bach.

Meanwhile, the IOC has also signed off on reforms to transform the Olympic Games bidding process, including the permission of bids across multiple cities, countries or regions and more flexibility in the traditional seven-year window for electing hosts.

The changes accepted last month by the Executive Board (EB) were approved at the IOC Session, with president Thomas Bach stating they represent an “evolution” of his Agenda 2020 “revolution”. The proposals were submitted during May’s EB meeting by the Working Group for Future Games Elections, which was formed at the previous EB meeting in March to consider future Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games (YOG) elections, sportsbusiness.com has reported.

The proposals are designed to establish a permanent, ongoing dialogue to explore and create interest among cities/regions/countries and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) for Olympic Games and YOGs. Two Future Host Commissions, for the summer and winter events, will be created to oversee interest in future Games and report to the EB.

The IOC said the changes will seek to “preserve the magic” of the Olympic Games to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime experience for athletes. The IOC Session will also be granted more influence by having non-EB members form part of the Future Host Commissions.

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