IOC will not check athletes’ underpants

Updated: July 27, 2012

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has ruled out checking athletes underpants before they compete at the soon-to-commence Olympic Games.

Nicklas Bendtner caused a massive storm at last month’s UEFA European Championships.  After scoring a goal against Portugal, the 24 year-old proceeded to drop his shorts to reveal the logo of Irish bookmaking firm Paddy Power.

For his indiscretion, he was fined €100,000 and banned from a 2014 World Cup qualifier by the governing body of European football, who, similar to their Olympic equivalent, are very sensitive when it comes to brands who have not paid vast sums of money getting away with ‘ambush advertising’ – that is;  free advertising.

The IOC have however confirmed that fans can wear t-shirts quite freely and wear football shirts with rival sports firms’ logos on them.  The message to athletes from the IOC though is:  ”If they’re not official Olympic pants – don’t wear them.”

German giants Adidas are the official sportswear supplier of the London Olympic Games with their main rival Nike not affiliated to the IOC.  The American brand have however, launched a rival advertising campaign which refers to places called London that are not in England but located all over the world and will run for the duration of the London Olympics, including in and around London, England.

Denis Oswald, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, has said that the IOC are well aware of the problem of ambush marketing but that checking athletes underpants prior to events would not be practical:  “It won’t be practical to make checks before the athletes take to the field. However, the soccer player who revealed his underwear in the European Championship was penalised afterwards. That will be the same at the Olympics.”

Mr Oswald was speaking after opening an exhibition about the relationship between professional sport and the law at the Supreme Court in central London.

He spoke of the lengths to which organisers had gone to protect sponsorship deals – and said two lawyers had travelled with the Olympic torch to offer advice to officials and police.

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