Team GB athletes and British Olympic Association end marketing rights standoff

British athletes are to be granted permission to thank personal sponsors on a maximum of three occasions during the Tokyo Olympic Games following reports of a compromise agreement with the British Olympic Association (BOA).

The decision marks an amicable conclusion to a dispute brought by athletes against the so-called Rule 40 guidelines, which were updated in October to limit athletes to a single thank-you message per sponsor.

Initially, the BOA had sought to tighten the rules governing how athletes can promote their sponsors during the Olympics to protect the marketing exclusivity afforded to official Olympic partners – but was forced to back off following a mutiny among athletes.

According to The Times, the detail of this new arrangement will permit athletes to thank their sponsors once per event up to a maximum of three times in total, marking a significant victory for the likes of Laura Muir, Mo Farah and Katarina Johnson-Thompson – all of whom are sponsored by Nike.

Such machinations behind the scenes may ultimately prove to be immaterial, however, with the future of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics still hanging in the balance amid a worsening coronavirus outbreak.

Despite this a growing number of brands which flocked to TeamGB, most recently Starling Bank. Other commercial backers include Purple Bricks, Aldi, British Airways and DFS who together ensure TeamGB is one of only four Olympic associations worldwide to function without government backing.