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Posted by Equestrian Australia on 22/07/2019.

Australia’s Olympic Athletes to benefit from Rule 40 Changes

The Australia Olympic Committee (AOC) has approved changes to Guidelines that create greater flexibility for Olympic athletes to provide value for their commercial supporters during the Olympic period.

In June 2019, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Lausanne approved changes to both the Olympic Charter and Guidelines to its interpretation, effectively allowing athletes to promote their sponsors during the Games.

The changes to Bye-law 3 of Rule 40 sets out the principles which permit Games’ Participants to promote their sponsors while also allowing those sponsors to use Participant images during the Games period.  

Following discussion with the AOC Athlete’s Commission, the AOC Executive approved Supplementary Guidelines that set out what the athletes and their sponsors can do at Games’ time..

The two major changes are:

Firstly, athletes’ sponsors can continue “business as usual” campaigns featuring the sponsored athlete, during the Games, provided:

  • The campaign does not use Olympic properties
  • The campaign is not escalated during the Games

Additionally, the IOC requires notification of any campaign, compared with the previous requirement for approval.

Secondly, athletes may now thank their personal sponsors for their support, during the Games period.

This can be done provided:

  • There is no commercial connection made with the Olympic Games and the sponsor
  • The “thank you” doesn’t suggest the sponsor was responsible for the athlete’s performance
  • The “thank you” can be issued (across multiple social media platforms) once per performance, including any podium ceremony
  • The sponsor cannot congratulate the athlete for their performance.

AOC President and IOC Member John Coates says the changes represent a fair balance between the athletes’ rights to benefit commercially from their endeavours, and the IOC’s obligation to protect the exclusivity of its broadcasters and commercial partners without whom, the Games would not be possible.

“The changes recognise the important principle of athlete Solidarity,” Mr Coates said.

“The fact that the IOC distributes 90% of its revenues to summer and winter Organising Committees of Olympic Games (OCOGs), International Federations, the 206 National Olympic Committees, the IOC Refugee Team, athletes and athlete programs, makes it possible for many athletes to train for and participate in the Games.

“Without that IOC support made possible by its commercial program including broadcast rights, many athletes from a range of countries would not be in a position to compete.

“Olympic athletes recognise and support that principle of Solidarity and it is one of the wonderful features of the Olympic movement.”

“Equally, the IOC has listened to the concerns raised by athletes about the difficulty of realising their Olympic and earning potential imposed by the previous constraints. While the IOC asks for this window of exclusively for a very brief period every four years, these changes provide more opportunity. 

“Equally importantly, we are now telling athletes what they can do.” Mr Coates concluded.

The AOC Supplementary Guidelines can be found at:


* Supplied by AOC

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