Global Athlete joins Athlete representatives from 8 countries in calling on the IOC to relax Rule 40

International athletes call on IOC to work with National Olympic Committees to meaningfully reform Rule 40 which would liberate athletes' commercial potential.

18 June 2019: On the eve of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Committee meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, Global Athlete has joined forces with international athlete representatives from 8 countries to encourage the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to "embrace change" by working with National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to meaningfully reform what is known as ‘IOC Rule 40’.

Speaking as a collective, Global Athlete and the athletes of 8 countries said: "We are asking the IOC to positively embrace the overwhelming sentiment of athletes to reform and modernise Rule 40 so that it’s more in keeping with how athletes wish to express and market themselves in today’s world. We are encouraging the IOC to join us and show its support to all athletes by ensuring all National Olympic Committees loosen and modernise the currently restrictive ‘Rule 40’ so that it’s more befitting the digital world that we now live in.

In doing so, the IOC would be enabling athletes greater flexibility in athletes’ use of social media and personal advertising rights during the Olympic Games period, and in turn this would allow athletes to express their own personalities and promote their own sponsors during, and leading up to, the Games. By embracing our call for positive progress, the IOC and NOCs can not only help create stars out of Olympians, but they would also be growing the profile of the Olympic Games, too. It’s a win-win opportunity, and one that we can surely all get behind for the good of Olympic sport.

Given the IOC is not currently paying athletes to compete at the Games, at a minimum, this gesture of good faith is in the best interest of everyone and will empower athletes to unlock their earning potential and amplify their impact on society. It is a fact of life that athletes are the ones that cause fans to fill up the stadiums, and that cause those in the sports industry to successfully sell television and marketing rights. It can only be right and logical, therefore, for the IOC to embrace the inevitable – and help level the playing field.

The Olympic Movement is one of the most powerful mechanisms to promote fundamental rights, peace and change; and so the opportunity for the IOC to unlock the potential of the international athlete community is a great one. Athletes want to grow sport together, and this is one way to do that. We urge the IOC along with the National Olympic Committees to be brave and show every athlete that you have their best interests at heart.


About Global Athlete

Global Athlete is a new international athlete-led movement aiming to inspire and drive change across the world of sport. As a movement run by athletes, for athletes, Global Athlete’s goal is to balance the power between athletes and sporting leaders, and to enable athletes to have their say about the way in which sport is run. Global Athlete aims to inspire and change sport for the better and bring it into the twenty-first century by mobilizing athletes, following the recent unprecedented uprising in which athletes have called for enhanced rights and changes to the way sport is governed.

Athletes who are passionate about seeing change in sport and want to start a conversation on how they see the future of sport are encouraged to sign-up at the Global Athlete website:

Media Information

For more information on Global Athlete, or for interview requests with Rob Koehler or a member of the Global Athlete Start-Up Group, please contact Communications Consultant, Ben Nichols:


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