A change to the controversial Rule 40, which prevents athletes from promoting non-Olympic sponsors during the period of the Games, is set to be relaxed, it was revealed here today.
The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board have proposed the relaxation which will come into effect for Rio 2016, providing it is approved by the full membership at its Session in Kuala Lumpur in July.
They have also proposed a change to Rule 50, which would increase the maximum size of a manufacturer's identification on national team kits while ensuring the field of play remains free from any advertising.
But the change to Rule 40 is potentially the most significant decision and follows a high-profile campaign run by a number of top American athletes during London 2012.
The most prominent campaingers for the change were Sanya Richards-Ross, winner of the the 400 metres at London 2012, and Lashinda Demus, the silver medallist in the 400m hurdles, who tweeted regularly about the subject during the Games using the hash-tag #WeDemandChange.
The rules were designed protect the Olympic TOP sponsors, including Visa, McDonald's and Coca-Cola, which help to bankroll the Games paying around $100 million (£63 million/€81 million) each for four years of global rights to sponsor a Winter and Summer Games.
Those companies and sponsors of National Olympic Committees are exempt from rules designed to prevent "ambush marketing", non-sponsors getting free publicity on the back of the Games.
The rule had previously been introduced a month in the build-up to the Olympics, the Games themselves and for a short period afterwards.
The countdown to the start of the black-out period before London 2012 was marked by a series of high-profile marketing campaigns, including by the likes of Usain Bolt's sponsors Virgin Media and Volvo, keen to promote to their sponsorship of British sailors, including multiple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie.
Details of how the amended Rule will be administered still have to be have announced.
"The EB agreed to two proposals regarding changes to Rule 40 and Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, both of which will be presented to the next IOC Session this July in Kuala Lumpur for final approval," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
"In regard to the application of Rule 40, the IOC would, following Session approval, allow generic (non-Olympic) advertising during the period of the Games.
"The change to Rule 50 would increase the maximum size of a manufacturer's identification while respecting the clean field of play to prevent conspicuous advertising."
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