Right to Play in trouble with the IOC because of its sponsors


By Stine Alvad
An organisation’s choice of sponsors affects its chances to cooperate with the IOC.

   Right to Play Logo (c) Right to Play

Humanitarian organisation Right to Play has been banned from having its traditional information stand in the Olympic Village in the Vancouver Winter Games 2010 because of a sponsor conflict between Mitsubishi, sponsoring Right to Play, and General Motors, official sponsor of Vancouver Winter Games 2010.

Right to Play is a humanitarian organisation based in Toronto that runs sports programs to heighten education and development in troubled areas in the world. The organisation, formerly Olympic Aid, has been present at every Olympic Games since 1992, but they will not be able to put up its information stand in Vancouver 2010.

According to the newspaper Toronto Star, Right to Play has recently had a $ 480,000 donation from Mitsubishi Motors Canada and it is this donation that has caused the banning. The Vancouver Organizing Committee, VANOC, has a 67$ million sponsor contract with General Motors Canada, and according to their contract, VANOC is obliged to offer their sponsors exclusivity. An exclusiveness VANOC cannot provide if Mitsubishi is sponsoring an organisation inside the Olympic Village.

It is VANOC’s decision to exclude Right to Play from the Olympic Village, but they are acting in accordance with the IOC.

“It is VANOC’s understanding that the IOC has raised the same concerns on conflicting sponsorships with Right To Play and has taken the position that Right To Play can no longer be associated with the Olympic Games”, Andrea Shaw, VANOC’s VP of marketing said in an email to Randy Starkman, blogger at Canadian newspaper Toronto Star.

IOC Media Relations Manager Emmanuelle Moreau as well as Right to Play founder and CEO Johann Olav Koss, confirm to the Toronto Star that discussions are taking place with regards to the future cooperation of the two organisations.

However, Right to Play is still planning to be present in Vancouver in 2010, says Terry Pursell, VP of global business development and communications for Right to Play to Toronto Star, “We’re just trying to figure out how to be more creative.”

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