Olympic officials to keep hands off pants


A top official has said lawyers worried about ambush marketing undermining Olympic sponsors will not instigate checks on competitors’ underwear prior to games.

Denis Oswald, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, said examining pants and vests for illicit logos would be impractical.

But he warned that players would face fines from sporting authorities if they lifted shirts or dropped shorts to reveal unauthorised advertisements.

In June, Arsenal and Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner was fined £80,000 by football governing body Uefa and banned for a game after exposing underpants bearing the name of bookmaker Paddy Power during the European Championships.

Mr Oswald said lawyers and organisers were aware of the risks.

But he added: “It won’t be practical to make checks before the players take the field. However, the soccer player who revealed his underwear in the European Championship was penalised afterwards. That will be the same in 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.

But he said spectators should not worry about wearing T-shirts emblazoned with company names - or soccer shirts bearing club sponsor logos.

“We wouldn’t be concerned about what individual spectators were wearing,” he said. “Ambush marketing would be the problem. If someone held up a banner or a group of people stood up with individual letters on shirts spelling out a company... Those kind of things would be our concern.”


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