Olympics supplier recognition scheme for UK companies

British suppliers to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will benefit via a first-time ever deal between the UK Government, the British Olympic Association (BOA) and The International Olympic Committee (IOC). The deal gives ‘supplier recognition’ to companies which supplied goods and services to LOCOG and the ODA. The initiative came from UK companies and the government who challenged a broad ruling that only official sponsors could promote their products and services in relation to the Olympic Games. Quite deliberately, the UK government sought to open the way for UK companies to market their London Olympics record to future events organisers. The early stages of this campaign were noted by “Back on the Block”.

The UK Government has committed £2 million to the British Olympic Association to allow them to establish and operate the new ‘supplier recognition scheme’. Companies will be able to apply to the BOA for a free licence from 27 January 2013. On receipt of the free licence they will be able to promote their work at trade shows both in the UK and internationally, apply for industry awards for their London 2012 work and use their involvement in direct pitches and tender documentation when competing for international contracts. Additionally, the licence will give businesses exclusive access to the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) library of more than 4,000 photographs from the project.

As mentioned, this is the first time such an agreement has been made.

So what does this mean for non-UK companies…such as those Australian or US companies that did a tremendous job for London?  And how will sponsors view the breach in the preserve that was theirs for the money…a lot of it! 

New Millennium Business and “Back on the Block” sought to open a dialogue on the former issue – that of Australian companies not being able to receive the UK’s suppliers recognition. Mr Gilbert Felli of the IOC has advised that “The BOA Supplier Recognition Scheme is operated by the BOA and developed in conjunction with the UK government as part of the UK's legacy plans.  Therefore the scope of the scheme is very much UK-focused: it is intended to benefit UK business and the UK economy off the back of the UK's status as Host Country of the London 2012 Games.  This was permitted by the IOC on the basis that it was UK-focused and that the BOA would put in place strict conditions around use of the supplier recognition and police them. We have no plan to extend that approach beyond the UK.”

We figure it may be possible for the AOC to assist in some discussion with the IOC on this topic…however, at this stage the AOC advises that “the AOC already has the ability to approve/not approve the use of any reference to the Olympic Games in Australia by an Australian company. A parallel agreement with the IOC would not be necessary to replicate any arrangement reached between the IOC, the BOA and the British Government.

However, it remains the AOC’s policy that it will only allow its own sponsors, suppliers and licensees to use references to the Olympic Games. LOCOG’s suppliers do not have any relationship to the AOC or the Australian Olympic Team, and the AOC does not approve these companies to use Olympic expressions or the Olympic symbol in Australia, or to otherwise promote an association with the Olympic Games.”

It seems the best avenue for Australian companies seeking to gain from the new scheme would be to tap into the approach and recognition for which any of their UK partners may be eligible.

Eric Winton

Director, New Millennium Business

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