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«Contents ISSN 1748-944X Legal Guarantees for Olympic Legacy Abstract Introduction ...»

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Contents ISSN 1748-944X

Legal Guarantees for Olympic Legacy



An Overview of Guarantees Required of

Stephen A Stuart, Adjunct and Replacement

Host Cities by the IOC and their

Professor, School of Human Kinetics, Faculty


Games Specific Additions and of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa,

Extensions to Existing National IPR sstuart@uottawa.ca Protection Legislation Sustainability and Legacy within the Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Olympic Movement Information Law, Vice-Dean Research, The Olympic Charter Faculty of Law, Common Law, University of Agenda 21: Sport for Sustainable Ottawa Development Candidate Procedure and


Questionnaire: Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012 Such is the power of the International Olympic Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Committee (IOC) that they require sovereign states, Impact Program Baseline Report eager for key cities to host future editions of the Olympic Non-Governmental Not-For-Profit Games, to enact specific legislation designed to protect, Foundations amongst other things, the Olympic brand and its Discussion associated trademarks; it is also intended to prevent the Conclusion occurrence of ambush marketing before and during the References period of the Games, thereby protecting the commercial interests of the IOC and the sponsors participating in the Olympic Partner program. However, there are no such requirements for guarantees pertaining to the intended legacy outcomes of these Games, either in terms of their physical manifestation, or with regard to their sustainability, despite sustainable development being one of the pillars of the Olympic Movement. This paper argues that if the IOC were serious in their professed intent that Games’ legacies be beneficial for the residents of host cities, regions and countries over time, they could require the enactment of straightforward legislation guaranteeing planned and sustainable outcomes. Furthermore, the paper provides the example of a Canadian educational foundation to illustrate the infrastructure the IOC could impose on host cities to ensure Games’ outcomes are sustainable in terms of the lifespan of venues, infrastructure, facilities and equipment.


Olympic Games, Legacy, Sustainability, Legislation, Ambush Marketing, Intellectual Property Rights.


Over recent years, legal guarantees have become an increasingly important mandatory 1 requirement of the selection process potential Olympic host cities have undertaken (McKelvey & Grady, 2004; Townley, Harrington, & Couchman, 1998). Guarantees serve a variety of purposes, including the overall on-time delivery of the Games. They fall into a number of different functional categories such as financial, environmental, technological, security and marketing (e.g., IOC, 2004). One of the prime, yet often understated, rationales for their existence is the continued protection of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) extremely valuable Gamesrelated intellectual property rights (IPR) against, in particular, ambush marketing (Ellis, Scassa, & Séguin, 2009). Legal guarantees protect the substantial revenues generated by licensing this IPR, which are enjoyed by the IOC and respective Organising Committees (OCOG) (Kitchin, 2007, p. 103) and which are necessary to host the Games (Wall, 2002). They also protect the significant financial investments made by organisations participating in the IOC’s Olympic Partner (TOP) sponsorship program and other commercial partners associated with the staging of the Games (e.g., Curthoys & Kendall, 2001; McKelvey & Grady, 2004; Payne, 1998; Schmitz, 2005; Townley, et al., 1998; Wall, 2002). Consequently, the overall impact of IPR-related guarantees is to ensure current IPR leveraging opportunities are maximized and future fiscal revenues protected.

Guarantees are provided through the adaptation or extension of existing national and regional2 legislation, the enactment of new laws created for the specific purpose of Games-related IPRhttp://go.warwick.ac.uk/eslj/issues/volume9/number1/stuart_scassa protection (e.g., The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, 2007), or a combination of both (Curthoys & Kendall, 2001). Due to an increasing stream of potential host cities (e.g., Chalkley & Essex, 1999; Feddersen, Maennig, & Zimmermann, 2007; Shoval, 2002), there has been no discernable resistance to these requirements; even the Communist People’s Republic of China succumbed and passed such legislation to support Beijing’s successful bid for the 2008 summer Games (McKelvey & Grady, 2004; State Council of the People's Republic of China, 2002).

Furthermore, since 1993, when Sydney was awarded the millennium Games, the IOC’s requirement for such guarantees has, like their TOP sponsorship structure (Johnson, 2008, p. 5), been mirrored by the organisers of other sporting mega events such as the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Football Championship, the ICC Cricket World Cup, and the IOC’s nascent Youth Olympics (e.g., FIFA, 2008; IOC, 2008; New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development, 2006;

UEFA, 2008). As the requirements’ acceptability and effectiveness is clearly demonstrated by such examples, the probability of its further propagation throughout international sport is high (Townley, et al., 1998). This requirement then is a significant, yet unreported, international legacy of the Olympic Games. Other legacy outcomes of large scale and mega sporting events (LSMSE) such as the Olympic Games have been categorised in various ways: skill development, image, emotion, network and culture (Gratton & Preuss, 2008); sport development, infrastructure, social, environmental and economic (Koenig & Leopkey, 2009); planned, unplanned, positive and negative (Preuss, 2007); economic, social, environmental and cultural (Poynter, 2009); or sport, tourism, social, knowledge and political (Toohey, 2008).

The IOC has an explicit mandate regarding Games’ legacies which is enacted through each3 edition’s Organising Committee: to deliver various planned outcomes that together ensure ‘host cities and residents are left with the best possible legacy’ (IOC, 2004, p. 11) and which are implicitly sustainable in economic, environmental and social terms (Stuart, 2009). However, the complete delivery of such planned, positive and sustainable Games outcomes is not always achieved due to the impact of a number of key factors: economic, environmental, infrastructural, personal, political and those associated with poor and/or inadequate planning (e.g., Coaffee, 2007, pp. 159 - 160; Evans, 2007, p. 300; M. M. Gold, 2007, p. 279; Mangan, 2008).

To avoid future occurrences of such failure it would not be materially difficult for the IOC to use 4 its previously demonstrated coercive power (French & Raven, 1959) to require that national and/or regional host governments, via bid committees and OCOGs, enact supplementary legacyrelated legislation designed to remain in force for a period of time appropriate for guaranteeing a consistent set of Games-related sustainable outcomes. Whilst not condoning the IOC’s use of coercive power in order to safeguard and increase their revenue streams, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that such power could be similarly employed to ensure the IOC’s positive legacy intentions toward the inhabitants of a host city, region and country (IOC, 2007 Article 2:14) are sincere and realised in a planned, positive, and sustainable manner (Liao & Pitts, 2006).

This paper argues that the IOC is eminently well positioned to propose the introduction of 5 additional legislative requirements in the host city bid process to minimize unplanned, negative and unsustainable legacy outcomes from future editions of the Olympic Games, whilst at the same time optimizing those that are planned, positive and sustainable. It does so by first presenting a descriptive overview of the guarantees currently required by the IOC from cities wishing to bid to host an edition of the Games. Subsequently, it provides examples of recently executed guarantees supporting successful Olympic hosting bids in order to demonstrate the widespread acceptance of the IOC’s demands. The paper continues with an analysis of key Olympic documentation regarding the intentions of the IOC in respect of sustainable legacy outcomes from the Games, and suggests that they are often unfulfilled. Thereafter, the paper proposes the example of a successful Canadian non-governmental not-for-profit educational Foundation to illustrate a model of the infrastructure that national or regional governments could be required, by the IOC, to establish as part of their city’s candidature. Such action would contribute to ensuring that future Games outcomes, including all associated facilities, infrastructure, venues and equipment, are planned and managed in a manner that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable for their expected lifespan and consequently of material benefit to the residents of the host city, region and country. Any costs incurred by the IOC for such a condition would be negligible, as with currently imposed brand protection requirements. The paper concludes by suggesting that the motivation for the IOC to undertake such action would be the overall enhancement and protection of Olympic brand values and hence future earnings from Games-related IPR revenues. Whilst not the main focus of this http://go.warwick.ac.uk/eslj/issues/volume9/number1/stuart_scassa paper, it also suggests that such action would indicate that the IOC recognizes the long-term economic value of legacy projects to their brand, as well as to other key stakeholders.



The IOC’s requirement for various binding guarantees from candidate cities bidding to host a 6 Games edition has existed for the past several years; such guarantees are currently contained under 17 separate themes (e.g., IOC, 2004), intimately related to Articles and Rules contained

within the Olympic Charter (McKelvey & Grady, 2004). Their main purpose appears threefold:

firstly as a metric for evaluating each city’s candidature (e.g., IOC, 2004, p. 33); secondly to protect the IOC and each successive OCOG by ensuring that the Games commence on schedule and proceed in accordance with the successful bid proposal and the established principles of Olympism as the winning city transforms itself from candidate to host (e.g., IOC, 2004, p. 33);

and thirdly to protect the IOC’s extremely valuable brand equity, which mostly resides in the rights to various elements of Olympic intellectual property such as the official ‘five rings’ logo and other such indicia (Schmitz, 2005; Wall, 2002).

Prior to a city’s candidature file being formally submitted and evaluated by the IOC, a number of7 legal guarantees need to be obtained and collated by each potential host city’s bid committee.

These guarantees are made, endorsed or underwritten by the prospective host’s national or regional government, and are often adaptations or extensions of existing legislation (Curthoys & Kendall, 2001). To illustrate the broad scope of activities covered by these agreements, Table 1 summarises the guarantees required of cities bidding to host the 2012 Olympics. The guarantees are contained within 17 different themes, each addressing a distinct operational area in the Games’ organisation (IOC, 2004). Whilst the format and sequence of guarantees may differ from one Games cycle to another, the themes have remained constant over a number of years. The chosen example has no special significance; it serves solely to illustrate the range and scope of guarantee sought by the IOC during the host city bid process. To illustrate the breadth of this onerous requirement, a brief description of each of the major guarantee themes follows.

Currently, there is no requirement for a guarantee in the first theme dealing with the concept and legacy of the Games.

Table 1 – A Summary of the Themes and Associated Guarantees Required of Olympic Candidate Cities

–  –  –

and Legacy 2 Political and (i) Financial or other, obtained from national, regional and local economic climate authorities and bodies involved in hosting the Games and structure

–  –  –

4 Customs and (i) Entry into host country using Olympic identity and accreditation immigration card; (ii) temporary entry for Games-related personnel to work and domicile prior to the Games; and (iii) authorising the free import, use http://go.warwick.ac.uk/eslj/issues/volume9/number1/stuart_scassa

–  –  –

5 Environment and (i) Required construction work for the Games compliant with: (a) meteorology Local, regional and national regulations and acts; and (b) international agreements and protocols regarding planning, construction and protection of the environment

–  –  –

16 Media operations (i) Construction for the IBC and MPC, including timelines, financing, possession, retrofit and vacation dates

–  –  –

Source: IOC (2004) 2012 Candidature Procedure and Questionnaire: Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012 IOC, Lausanne Under theme 2, covering economic and political issues, indications are sought from national, 8 regional and local authorities regarding their financial and material commitment to, and support for, the bid committee’s proposal to host the Games and the extent to which such support is manifest through legal instruments (IOC, 2004). This protects the IOC and the OCOG by contractually ensuring that the host city is capable of delivering the Games as specified and on time.

A second category of guarantee focuses on the visitor experience during the Games. The IOC 9 seeks to ensure an appropriate level of Olympic visitor accommodation at prices that are not inflated. Guarantees are required regarding the capacity of the designated international airport, its associated infrastructure and projected increases in the city’s public transport system.

Further, the IOC requires that all transport activities in the ‘ Olympic region during the Olympic Games’ are integrated and coordinated with the OCOG and operated by a single designated authority (IOC, 2004, p. 202).

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