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Germany: Olympic Committee eases advertising restrictions for athletes

 |  February 27, 2019

German athletes and their sponsors will have considerably enhanced advertising opportunities during future Olympic Games. The German Olympic Sports Confederation (Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund, DOSB) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) committed to the Bundeskartellamt to ease the advertising restrictions pursuant to Rule 40 No. 3 of the Olympic Charter. The Bundeskartellamt is going to monitor the compliance with the commitment agreement.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt, said, “We ensure that the advertising opportunities of German athletes and their sponsors during the Olympic Games, which the DOSB and IOC significantly restricted in the past, are extended. While athletes are the key figures of Olympic Games, they cannot benefit directly from the IOC’s high advertising revenue generated with official Olympic sponsors… Our decision grants German athletes more leeway when it comes to marketing themselves during the Olympic Games.”

In 2017, the Bundeskartellamt initiated administrative proceedings for suspected abuse of a dominant position against the DOSB and the IOC. As a result, both organisations made initial improvements to the advertising guidelines in December 2017 prior to the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. While the Bundeskartellamt preliminarily accepted these changed guidelines, it also announced that it was going to analyse them in more detail. A survey conducted among a large number of athletes and sponsors in Germany early in 2018 showed that the initial adjustments did not eliminate the advertising restrictions to a sufficient extent. The Bundeskartellamt initiated further investigations in April 2018 and negotiated with the IOC and the DOSB on how to improve and specify its commitments.

The DOSB and the IOC have now undertaken to considerably enhance advertising opportunities for German athletes and their sponsors. A new DOSB guideline defines the changes and the conditions under which German athletes and their sponsors can carry out advertising activities in the future. The IOC has agreed that these new guidelines take priority over the IOC rules with regard to Germany.

Full Content: Bundeskartellamt

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