Academic journal article Business Law International

2012 London Olympics: Dispute Resolution in a Commercial Context

Academic journal article Business Law International

2012 London Olympics: Dispute Resolution in a Commercial Context

Article excerpt

The world eagerly awaits the commencement of the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, United Kingdom (the 'London Games') . The spirit of Olympism abounds everywhere. The coming Olympics generates energy, passion and pride for citizens all over the world. What is not frequently recognised in this sporting frenzy is how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) interacts with the commercial world for the purposes of an Olympic Games. This article describes the multiplicity of contracts and legislation that interlace the structure and fabric of the London Olympics. In describing the types and scope of contracts and legislation used, this article will discuss the applicable law and dispute resolution mechanisms1 used in a host of commercial contracts for the London Olympics.

Contractual process of obtaining the Olympic Games

It is a great honour to be a part of the city and country selected to host the London Olympics. The process of obtaining the Olympic Games is a complicated one. At the heart of the process is the Olympic Charter (the 'Charter') and the IOC. The IOC is an international non-governmental not-for-profit organisation of unlimited duration. It exists in the form of a Swiss association2 with the status of a legal person, by virtue of Rule 15 of the Charter in Lausanne, Switzerland.3 The Charter,4 in Rule 15.3, sets out that the object of the IOC is to fulfil the mission, role and responsibilities as assigned to it by the Olympic Charter.

The Charter's legal characterisation is provided in 'Introduction to the Olympic Charter',5 which specifies the following:

'The Olympic Charter (OC) is the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, Rules and By-Laws adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It governs the organisation, action and operation of the Olympic Movement and sets forth the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games. In essence, the Olympic Charter serves three main purposes:

(a) The Olympic Charter, as a basic instrument of a constitutional nature, sets forth and recalls the Fundamental Principles and essential values of Olympism.

(b) The Olympic Charter also serves as statutes for the International Olympic Committee.

(c) In addition, the Olympic Charter defines the main reciprocal rights and obligations of the three main constituents of the Olympic Movement, namely the International Olympic Committee, the International Federations and the National Olympic Committees, as well as the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games, all of which are required to comply with the Olympic Charter.'

The Charter constitutes the 'Statutes' of the IOC pursuant to Article 60 of the Swiss Code of Civil Procedure.6 The IOC must comply with its statute as does every other Swiss association.7 Therefore, the Charter is the essential document from which all contractual arrangements concerning the Olympics flow.

Chapter 5 of the Charter broadly addresses the organisation and administration of the Olympic Games,8 which include the bidding process to host the Olympic Games.9 The bidding city, with the approval of its own National Olympic Committee (NOC), submits an application package to the IOC.10 The British Olympic Association (BOA) is London's NOC. In 2003, the London Olympic Games Bid Company was created to assist in creating an effective application, shape the bid and perform the necessary 'legal groundwork'.11

In 2005, the IOC, ata General Session, selected London as the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. This decision came with the requirement that the host city and its NOC enter into a Host City Contract. This requirement is mandated by the Charter.12

Host City Contract

The Host City Contract (HCC) is governed by Rule 33 and By-law 3.3 in the Charter.13 The HCC is entered into between the IOC, on one hand, and the chosen city and their NOC, on the other.14 The HCC for the 2012 Olympic Games is between the IOC, the city of London, and the BOA. …

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