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Olympics kit

I was invited to attend the Onside Law international Sports Law conference at Stamford Bridge this morning, and I learned something there that I thought was so unbelievable I had to ask twice to make sure I had understood.

At the Olympic games this summer, athletes will, as things stand, have to change their footwear (if they win) to ensure that they are wearing Adidas kit on the podium. There was, apparently, some discussion originally about the idea that they would actually have to COMPETE in Adidas kit, but that was deemed a step too far. The requirement for them to be “properly” attired as they collect their medals, though, stands – not just in terms of their shirts and caps, but what they have on their feet.

It seems to me that when people talks about safeguarding the integrity of the Olympic Games, the principle that they are seeking to uphold is that what people see is what is actually happening. We don’t want an outstanding performance to be drugs-fuelled; we don’t want a calamitous performance to have been driven by financial gain, most likely (but not necessarily exclusively) from betting markets. This is quite sensible and proper and I don’t see how any sports fan would disagree with it.

But equally, it seems to me that this principle has gone out of the window when it comes to the Olympic movement being given sponsorship money. If every medallist is seen to be wearing Adidas kit, then what people will see is quite simply not a reflection of what really happened.

Apart from seeming to be unbelievably daft, is this a case of one rule where the sport can make money, and another where it can’t?

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  1. ScottF says

    wasn’t there a story about the French women’s football team not taking up an earned spot at the Olympics because it would invoke a massive breach of contract over kitwear – circa US$10m? Ridiculous if true, as with the positions above.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. More on kit | Mark Davies linked to this post on February 7, 2012

    […] been talking to someone from the BOA to get a better understanding of what had struck me as a crazy rule which will require athletes to change their footwear before they get onto the podium, in the event that they win a […]

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