Canada the latest country to relax Rule 40 guidelines in time for Tokyo 2020

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From Inside the Games

Canada has become the latest country to ease the restrictions placed on its athletes by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Rule 40.

The much debated rule governs how athletes can interact with their sponsors during the Olympic Games.

Rule 40.3 previously stated “no competitor, team official or other team personnel who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games”.

But this was relaxed in June when the wording was changed to “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 rule in its previous guise was seen as a major reason why companies signed up as part of the lucrative The Olympic Partner sponsorship scheme which guarantees huge exposure during Games-time.

However, it caused contention with athletes who said it prevented them making money during the most important time of their career.

The IOC argued that money from the sponsorship scheme is invested back into sport around the world, but they relaxed the rule after a landmark German legal decision in February which described the wording as “too far reaching” and “abusive conduct”.

Countries including the United States and Australia have since released more relaxed guidelines for their athletes as Tokyo 2020 approaches.

Canada’s stance, released by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and its Athletes’ Commission, now allows athletes “increased opportunity” to engage with personal sponsors.

Athletes will be allowed to share promotional posts on social media if they are part of a long-standing generic campaign, and provided there is no escalation during the Games.

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