International Athlete Community calls for National Olympic Committees to follow Germany’s lead in relaxing restrictive ‘Rule 40’
19th June 2019
The international athlete community today gathered in Oslo, Norway and made a unanimous call for the world’s National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to follow Germany’s lead by relaxing the restrictive International Olympic Committee "Rule 40" so that athletes’ marketing and commercial rights can be liberated and “brought into line with the rights and modern norms athletes have come to expect in the digital age”.
The athlete community has been galvanised by a successful recent ruling in Germany that paved the way for German athletes to use the period of the Olympic Games to market themselves, endorse sponsors that have helped them reach the pinnacle of their careers and express themselves freely on social media, using terms such as "gold", "silver", "bronze" and "medal" which until now had been restricted by the IOC’s long-established Rule 40.
Athletes also discussed the emergence of Global Athlete and the resulting shift towards greater athlete representation and rights within sports governance. Participants at the meeting stressed the need for athletes to have a meaningful place around the decision-making table and to be treated as equals alongside administrators with regards to the rules that are made and that impact their daily careers. The participants also encouraged sports governing bodies and anti-doping organizations to strengthen the athlete voice, for their views to be voiced without the fear of retribution and for mechanisms to be put in place to support athletes that do speak up.
The athlete community and anti-doping leaders also convened a joint Meeting that pledged to continue to work together to further the fight against doping and restore trust. The anti-doping leaders of ten nations joined athletes from twelve countries in Oslo as, together, they pledged to keep putting athlete rights at the heart of clean sport policy. In a first for anti-doping, a series of athlete rights (previously included within The WADA Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights) will now be fully implemented as best practice by the world’s leading Anti-Doping Organizations.
The athletes will convene again tomorrow, for the World Forum for Ethics in Business Conference held in partnership with Anti-Doping Norway and FairSport. The Conference will see high-profile figures meet to discuss how athletes, sports, sponsors and broadcasters can work more together to ensure greater accountability for clean and ethical sport. Participants include: the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Vice President, Linda Helleland; four-time Olympic Gold medalist and FairSport Founder, Johann Koss; and Chief Sports Writer of British newspaper The Sunday Times, David Walsh.
Olympic and Paralympic athletes from the following countries and sports participated at the Meeting:
Athletics – Long distance
Athletics and Triathlon
Rugby Union 7s
Athletics – Hammer throw
Athletics – Decathlon
Skelton and Bobsleigh
The following National Anti-Doping Organizations attended the meeting:
Japan Anti-Doping Agency
French Anti-Doping Agency
US Anti-Doping Agency
US Anti-Doping Agency
Australian Anti-Doping Agency