COC and Athletes’ Commission release updates to Rule 40 athlete marketing guidance

TORONTO (January 7, 2020) — On Tuesday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the COC Athletes’ Commission released an updated Rule 40 guidelines for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Since Vancouver 2010, the COC has continued to adapt its position on Rule 40 in Canada to enable athletes and their personal sponsors to promote their relationships during the Games Period, while respecting the rights of Olympic partners to exclusive use of COC’s IP and rights of association with Team Canada and the Games.

As was the case with the guidelines for Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018, under the updated guidelines:

  • Athletes and their personal sponsors can continue to run long-standing, generic campaigns with no escalation during the Games;
  • Athletes can continue to thank personal sponsors during the Games; 
  • Athletes can continue to receive congratulatory messages from personal sponsors during the Games;
  • Exclusivity for Olympic partners around associating with Team Canada and the Games and use of Olympic marks/imagery.

“The COC is committed to supporting the ability of athletes to attract sponsors to bolster their careers and development, without compromising our mandate to generate revenue that benefits the sport system as a whole,” said COC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General, David Shoemaker. “Thank you to our Athletes’ Commission for its contributions to this important initiative and for providing the important Canadian athlete perspective to ensure both our athletes and the official Olympic partners who support Team Canada and the Games are best represented.”

New updates to the guidelines include:

  • Increased opportunity for athletes to engage personal sponsors during the Games period;
  • Athletes can now share promotional social posts as part of a long-standing, generic campaign with no escalation during the Games Period;
  • Less restrictive timeline for sponsor campaigns to be in market (90 days pre-Games period);
  • Streamlined notification process for personal sponsors.        

“It is so important to have the athletes’ voice represented in these conversations. It is always great when our Athletes’ Commission works together with the COC, particularly in this type of progress,” said two-time Olympic champion in trampoline and Athletes’ Commission Vice-Chair, Rosie MacLennan. “These guidelines reflect the evolution of the broader market and recognize the importance of enabling individual sponsorship that encourage Canadian brands and companies to financially support Canada’s athletes.”

Rule 40 of the Olympic Charteris a rule of the International Olympic Committee which governs eligibility for participation in the Olympic Games. The purpose of Rule 40 is to help ensure global participation at the Games, the funding of the Games and the long-term health of the Olympic Movement by maintaining the appeal of Olympic sponsorship at the global and national level.

The complete guidelines can be found here.



Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee
c: 647-464-4060

Photi Sotiropoulos, Director, Communications and Media Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee
t: 416-324-4298 / c: 416-476-9174


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