Concerns raised through Building ‘now being taken seriously’

UK Trade & Investment has begun gathering evidence from 2012 businesses as the government examines possible ways in which the strict marketing rules governing the London Olympics could be relaxed.

A major construction firm that worked on the Olympic park, but did not wish to be named, told Building it had been approached by UKTI officials asking about its specific experience of the controversial No Marketing Rights Protocol, enforced by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Building, which has used its 2012 campaign to highlight complaints from firms that the protocol has gagged them as they seek to capitalise on their Olympic achievements, revealed last month that Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chairman Sir John Armitt is now calling for a relaxing of the protocol after the games end.

Amid ongoing discussions within government, it is understood that UKTI has been working with the Government Olympic Executive (GOE) to look at the impact of the protocol in more detail.

UKTI is said to have been privately critical of the protocol for several months.

But Dr Mark James, a lecturer at Salford University who has studied Olympic legislation, predicted that marketing rules would become “stricter and stricter” in the run up to the Games.

He added that the protocol was part of an over-reaction to examples of so-called “ambush marketing” at previous Olympics.

A spokeswoman for DCMS said: “UKTI is supporting DCMS in looking at how businesses are able to communicate the work they have done on the Olympics and Paralympics after the Games.”

A UKTI spokesperson said the organisation had already provided opportunities for businesses to communicate the work they have done to supply the Games through the UK suppliers directory, which includes around 170 companies who supply the Games.

LOCOG declined to comment.