Editor's note: Rusa Agafonova is a PhD Candidate at the University of Zurich, Switzerland
The Olympic Games are the cornerstone event of the Olympic Movement as a
socio-cultural phenomenon as well as the engine of its economic model. Having worldwide
exposure, the Olympic Games guarantee
the International Olympic Committee (IOC) exclusive nine-digit sponsorship
deals. The revenue generated by the Games is later redistributed by the IOC
down the sports pyramid to the International Federations (IFs), National
Olympic Committees (NOCs) and other participants of the Olympic Movement through
a so-called "solidarity mechanism". In other words, the Games
constitute a vital source of financing for the Olympic Movement.
Because of the money involved, the IOC is protective when it comes to
staging the Olympics. This is notably so with respect to ambush marketing which
can have detrimental economic impact for sports governing bodies (SGBs) running
mega-events. The IOC's definition of ambush marketing covers any intentional and
non-intentional use of intellectual property associated with the Olympic Games as
well as the misappropriation of images associated with them without authorisation
from the IOC and the organising committee.
This definition is broad as are the IOC's anti-ambush rules.More...
Editor's note: Yuri Yagi is a sports lawyer involved in Sports Federations and Japanese Sports Organizations including the Japan Equestrian
Federation (JEF), the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the Japanese
Olympic Committee (JOC), the Japan Sports Council (JSC) and the All-Japan High School Equestrian Federation.
Japan has held
three Olympic Games since the inception of the modern Olympics;Tokyo Summer
Olympic Games in 1964, Sapporo Winter Olympic Games in 1972, and Nagano Winter
Olympic Games in 1998. Therefore, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Tokyo 2020) are supposed to
be the fourth to be held in Japan, the second for Tokyo. Tokyo 2020 were
originally scheduled for 24 July 2020 to 9 August 2020. Interestingly, the word
‘postpone’ or ‘postponement’ does not appear in the Host City Contract (HCC).
However, the International
Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), the Japanese
Olympic Committee (JOC), and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and
Paralympic Games (TOCOG) decided on 24 March 2020 that Tokyo 2020 would be
postponed because of the pandemic of COVID-19. Later on, the exact dates were fixed
‘from 23 July 2021 (date of the Opening Ceremony) to 8 August 2021 (date of the
The process of the
decision is stipulated in the ‘ADDENDUM N° 4’ signed by IOC, TMG, JOC and TOCOG.
This paper provides
an overview of the current situation, along with legal and other issues in
Japan that have arisen due to the postponement of Tokyo 2020 due to COVID-19.
The overview is offered from the perspective of a citizen of the host city and
includes a consideration of national polls, the torch relay, vaccination,
training camps, ever increasing costs, and the related provisions in the
Candidature File and the Host City Contract. More...
Editor's note: Prof. Dr. Ekşi is a full-time lecturer and chair of
Department of Private International Law at Özyeğin University Faculty of Law.
Prof. Ekşi is the founder and also editor in chief of the Istanbul Journal
of Sports Law which has been in publication since 2019.
Women In Sports Law (WISLaw) is an international, non-profit association based in Switzerland and aimed at promoting women in the sports law sector, through scientific and networking events, annual meetings and annual reports. WISLaw’s objectives are to raise awareness of the presence, role and contribution of women in the sports law sector, enhance their cooperation, and empower its global membership through various initiatives.
This year, WISLaw has partnered with the Asser International Sports Law Blog to organise a special blog symposium featuring WISLaw members. The symposium will entail both the publication of a series of blog posts authored by WISLaw members, and a virtual webinar (accessible at https://lnkd.in/dgWsy6q with the Passcode 211433) to promote discussion on the selected topics. Article contributions were invited on the topic of legal issues surrounding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In the midst of a pandemic and the rise of social justice movements around the world, the Games and their organisation gave rise to a number of interesting legal issues and challenges, which will be explored through a variety of lenses.
We hope that you enjoy and participate in the discussion.
Editor's note: This report compiles the most relevant legal
news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on
the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser.
IOC Athlete Commission
releases its Rule 50 Guidelines for Tokyo 2020
The IOC Athlete Commission
presented its Rule 50 Guidelines for Tokyo 2020 at its annual joint meeting with the IOC Executive
Board. It comes as Thomas Bach had recently underlined the importance of political
neutrality for the IOC and the Olympic Games in his New Year’s message. Generally, rule 50 of
the Olympic Charter prohibits any political and religious expression by
athletes and their team during the Games, subject to certain exceptions. The
Guidelines clarify that this includes the ‘field of play’, anywhere inside the
Olympic Village, ‘during Olympic medal ceremonies’ and ‘during the Opening,
Closing and other official ceremonies’. On the other hand, athletes may express
their views ‘during press conferences and interview’, ‘at team meetings’ and
‘on digital or traditional media, or on other platforms. While rule 50 is
nothing new, the Guidelines have reignited a debate on whether it could be
considered as a justified restriction on one’s freedom of expression.
The IOC has made the case
that it is defending the neutrality of sport and that the Olympics is an
international forum that should help bring people together instead of focusing
on divisions. Specifically, Richard Pound has recently made the
argument that the Guidelines have been formulated by the athletes themselves and
are a justified restriction on free expression with its basis in ‘mutual
respect’. However, many commentators have expressed their skepticism to this
view (see here, here and here) citing that politics and
the Olympics are inherently mixed, that the IOC is heavily involved in politics,
and that the Olympics has often served as the grounds for some of history’s
most iconic political protests. All in all, the Guidelines have certainly been
a catalyst for a discussion on the extent to which the Olympics can be
considered neutral. It also further highlights a divide between athlete
committees from within the Olympic Movement structures and other independent
athlete representation groups (see Global Athlete and FIFPro’s statements on rule 50).
Doping and Corruption
Allegations in Weightlifting
Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has found itself embroiled in a doping and
corruption scandal after an ARD documentary was aired early in
January which raised a wide array of allegations, including against the
President of the IWF, Tamás Aján. The documentary also included hidden camera interviews
from a Thai Olympic medalist who admits having taken anabolic steroids before
having won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and from a team
doctor from the Moldovan national team who describes paying for clean doping
tests. The IWF’s initial reaction to the documentary was
hostile, describing the allegations as ‘insinuations, unfounded accusations and
distorted information’ and ‘categorically denies the unsubstantiated’
accusations. It further claims that it has ‘immediately acted’ concerning the
situation with the Thai athletes, and WADA has stated that it will follow up
with the concerned actors. However, as the matter gained further attention in
the main stream media and faced increasing criticism, the IWF moved to try to ‘restore’ its reputation. In practice, this means
that Tamás Aján has ‘delegated a range of operation responsibilities’ to Ursual
Papandrea, IWF Vice President, while ‘independent experts’ will conduct a
review of the allegations made in the ARD documentary. Richard McLaren has been
announced to lead the investigation
and ‘is empowered to take whatever measures he sees fit to ensure each and
every allegation is fully investigated and reported’. The IWF has also stated
that it will open a whistleblower line to help aid the investigation.More...