International Athlete Community calls on National Olympic Committees to address ‘Rule 40’ with all Athletes

o   International Athlete community calls for National Olympic Committees to follow Germany’s lead and relax the International Olympic Committee’s restrictive ‘Rule 40’ so that athletes’ marketing and commercial rights are liberated.

o   Athletes also discussed the emergence of Global Athlete and the resulting shift towards greater athlete representation and rights within sports governance; stressing the need for a meaningful place around the decision-making table, the opportunity to be seen as equals alongside administrators and the ability to voice views without the fear of retribution.

o   Leading athletes joined the top names in anti-doping at Global Athlete Meeting in show of solidarity for Clean Sport Movement.

o   Anti-Doping Leaders from Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe commit to implement athlete rights in national anti-doping policy.


3 June 2019: The international athlete community today gathered in Oslo, Norway and made a unanimous call for the world’s National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to follow Germany’s lead by relaxing the restrictive International Olympic Committee ‘Rule 40’ so that athletes’ marketing and commercial rights can be liberated and “brought into line with the rights and modern norms athletes have come to expect in the digital age”.

The athlete community has been galvanised by a successful recent ruling in Germany that paved the way for German athletes to use the period of the Olympic Games to market themselves, endorse sponsors that have helped them reach the pinnacle of their careers and express themselves freely on social media, using terms such as ‘gold’, ‘silver’, ‘bronze’ and ‘medal’ which until now had been restricted by the IOC’s long-established Rule 40.

Athletes also discussed the emergence of Global Athlete and the resulting shift towards greater athlete representation and rights within sports governance. Participants at the meeting stressed the need for athletes to have a meaningful place around the decision-making table and to be treated as equals alongside administrators with regards to the rules that are made and that impact their daily careers. The participants also encouraged sports governing bodies and anti-doping organizations to strengthen the athlete voice, for their views to be voiced without the fear of retribution and for mechanisms to be put in place to support athletes that do speak up.

The athlete community and anti-doping leaders also convened a joint Meeting that pledged to continue to work together to further the fight against doping and restore trust. The anti-doping leaders of ten nations joined athletes from twelve countries in Oslo as, together, they pledged to keep putting athlete rights at the heart of clean sport policy. In a first for anti-doping, a series of athlete rights (previously included within The WADA Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights) will now be fully implemented as best practice by the world’s leading Anti-Doping Organizations.

The athletes will convene again tomorrow, for the World Forum for Ethics in Business Conference held in partnership with Anti-Doping Norway and FairSport. The Conference will see high-profile figures meet to discuss how athletes, sports, sponsors and broadcasters can work more together to ensure greater accountability for clean and ethical sport. Participants include: the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Vice President, Linda Helleland; four-time Olympic Gold medalist and FairSport Founder, Johann Koss; and Chief Sports Writer of British newspaper The Sunday Times, David Walsh.

Olympic and Paralympic athletes from the following countries and sports participated at the Meeting:

Countries: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, UK and USA.

Sports: Athletics – Decathlon, Athletics – Long distance, Athletics – Hammer throw, Biathlon, Badminton, Bobsleigh, Cycling, Fencing, Rugby Union 7s, Skelton, Ski Orienteering, Swimming, Triathlon

The following National Anti-Doping Organizations attended the meeting:  

Anti-Doping Norway, UK Anti-Doping, Japan Anti-Doping Agency, French Anti-Doping Agency, US Anti-Doping Agency, Sport Ireland, Anti-Doping Denmark, US Anti-Doping Agency, Australian Anti-Doping Agency


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:


M: +44 (0) 7555 538475