Survey shows athlete demand for Olympics payouts despite Rule 40 changes
More than half of athletes believe they should be paid by the International Olympic Committee for taking part in the Olympic Games, according to a new survey which outlines the financial challenges faced by many sportsmen and sportswomen across the globe.
The poll of elite athletes conducted by Global Athlete, the recently-launched body which claims to represent competitors worldwide, found that 58 per cent do not consider themselves to be financially stable.
There were also clear majorities supporting the statements that athletes “do not receive the appropriate amount of compensation from the International Paralympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee and National Federations followed by governments, National Olympic and Paralympic Committees” and “should have the right to build and sell their own brands at National Competitions and at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Asked if athletes should be paid for attending the Olympics and Paralympics, 57 per cent said ‘yes’.
Starting in September 2019, Global Athlete surveyed 491 athletes from 48 countries across all continents representing 40 summer and 16 winter sports on issues including athlete rights, welfare and representation.
Athletes who do not consider themselves to be financially secure were asked to expound on their situation, and some cited the fact they had to take on other jobs and live with their parents in order to make ends meet.
Ahead of the 2020 Olympics, the IOC has relaxed its stance on athletes promoting personal sponsors at the time of the games, with NOCs responsible for determining the parameters within their own territories.
Last June, the IOC amended bylaw 3 of Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter, which has prevented athletes from advertising their own partners at the Olympics, and several NOCs, including those in Germany, USA, Australia, Great Britain and, just last week, Ireland, have already amended their rules to permit greater promotion.
However, for many the reforms do not go far enough and a group of some 20 Team GB athletes have begun legal action to force the British Olympic Association to enact further changes.
The overall ruling from the IOC that Rule 40 could be altered in specific countries came after a successful challenge in the German courts in February 2019.
Four out of five athletes surveyed by Global Athlete agreed that they should have the right to “build and sell their own image right at the Olympic Games.”
However, there was acknowledgement that some restrictions should remain in place in order to protect the value of the IOC’s sponsorship deals, which help cover the cost of staging the games and benefit NOCs around the world.
The athletes were also asked about their representation at governing bodies, with most claiming that it is too low.
Some 87 per cent said that athletes should have 50 per cent of voting rights within sporting organisations on rules that are being developed that affect them.
This is an unusual state of affairs in Olympic sports, albeit the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee recently changed its bylaws to increase athlete representation to 33 per cent at most of its member governing bodies.
The survey also showed considerable support for collective independent athlete representation and the notion that athlete committees should be independent of sport federations.
The respondents comprised 44 per cent competing with sport as their primary profession, 31 per cent competing, but not as a primary profession and 25 per cent retired.
Some 31 per cent were Olympic athletes, 8 per cent Paralympic, 46 per cent international level and 15 per cent competed on a national basis.
The results of a separate survey on athletes’ feedback on the anti-doping system will be announced in mid-March.
• Fewer than four in 10 of people in Japan want to watch events at this year’s Olympics and Paralympics live at the venues, according to a new survey.
The poll, which involved 2,000 people aged 18 and older, was conducted across Japan over four days to 9 February.
It is thought that the relatively low level of interest could be linked to the coronavirus outbreak in the Far East, which has already impacted on various international sports events.
The survey showed that just 9.2 per cent of Japanese residents definitely want to watch the opening or closing ceremonies and sporting competitions at the event venues, while 27.4 per cent want to only if possible.
The total figure of 36.7 per cent is down from 37.1 per cent in July last year, and 45.6 per cent in 2018.