October 8, 2019 / 9:51 PM / 7 days ago

U.S. loosens sponsor restrictions on athletes

FILE PHOTO: Summer sunshine is seen through Olympic rings displayed at Nihonbashi district in Tokyo, Japan August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

(Reuters) - When U.S. Olympic and Paralympic competitors take their moment in the spotlight at the Tokyo 2020 Games, they will be able to thank their parents, spouses, coaches — and now their sponsors too.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced on Tuesday revised marketing guidance for next year’s Summer Olympics that expands athletes’ ability to market themselves.

Athletes will now be able to thank and receive congratulatory messages from their personal sponsors, and participate in advertising with sponsors during the Games, which was previously prohibited under International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules.

“We worked to create a guidance that increases athlete marketing opportunities,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a written statement.

IOC rules previously restricted athletes from working with their own sponsors during the two weeks of the Summer and Winter Games.

Yet in February, German athletes and sponsors secured a major victory over the IOC when the German Cartel Office said the IOC and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) were subject to existing competition laws.

At the IOC Session in June, the Olympic body announced it would ease its rules which had restricted athlete sponsorships and handed over responsibility for their implementation to National Olympic Committees.

The USOPC said its guidance came after a “collaborative process” among several parties including the IOC, International Paralympic Committee and the Athletes’ Advisory Council.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Toby Davis

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