While brands and agencies have tussled with the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) Rule 40 which prevents non-official sponsors from connecting their brands with Team GB, the pro-Brexit campaigning group Leave.EU has decided to completely ignore the rules and thrown their support behind British athletes.
One video posted by the group to social media which makes a political statement regarding Brexit while congratulating Team GB for their success, has caused particular concern for the BOA by using a number of restricted pieces of Olympic-related intellectual property, including the Olympic Rings, Team GB logo, and Team GB athlete images.
At the time of writing, a request by the BOA for Leave.EU to remove any posts that infringe Rule 40 have been dismissed.
When asked by PR Week if they were going to comply with the BOA’s request, a spokesperson for the group said: “No we’re going to ramp it up.”
It’s not yet clear how the BOA intend to respond to this statement, although according to reports an email sent by Leave.EU claims the BOA will sue them.
Contradicting this claim, a spokesperson for the BOA told journalists: “In some cases during the Games we have to speak to organisations about the misuse of our athletes and team’s IP. In this case, given the scale of the use of our intellectual property without our consent, we contacted Leave.EU by email to request them to refrain from doing so. No legal action has been taken.”
And it’s not just the BOA that’s unhappy with Leave.EU.
British Olympic gold medalist Callum Skinner responded to a tweet thanking Leave.EU for their support before stating; “but I wish you wouldn’t use my image to promote your campaign.”
The Scottish cyclist finished his tweet with a representation of the EU flag and British Union Jack.