British Olympic Athletes Not Allowed to Criticise Sponsors

February 15, 2012

Team GB hopefuls have been given an ultimatum if they are to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games, by either agreeing not to sell their kit on eBay, and not criticise team-mates or sponsors or face the reality of not being allowed to compete in the historic event.

The British Olympic Association will tell each of the 560 athletes hoping to represent Great Britain that they must sign a confidential 34-page rule book, titled the ‘Team Member’s Agreement’.

The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that the agreement contains an order that athletes cannot criticise team-mates during, or after the Games.

Some of the other key orders are that athletes cannot ‘denigrate’ sponsors, attend press conferences not arranged by Olympic organisers wearing kit, or bet on any event. They are also not allowed to sell their kit on eBay.

Athletes are also banned from using tattoos, haircuts, piercings or contact lenses as ways of issuing ‘commercial’ or ‘political’ messages.

And they have been told that if they win gold, they will be given £10,000 to use their image on a special set of first-class stamps.

It also seems that the BOA are planning to create a special British Olympic Hall of Fame, with the agreement telling athletes they may be in future eligible for induction.

Darryl Seibel, BOA communications director, told the Telegraph: “Early in this process it was clear, especially from the athletes’ agents, that they wanted a document that was quite specific to avoid any ambiguity.”

The agreement brings back memories of a similar one before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which forbid any criticism of China’s political system. The agreement was revised within hours after widespread criticism.

by Ismail Uddin