McDonald’s and Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympic Games may be under threat after a motion was passed on Wednesday by the London Assembly. The motion seeks a ban on Olympic sponsors that produce high calorie food and beverages.
Figures suggest the UK is suffering an obesity epidemic much like the rest of the Western world, with an estimated 60.8 per cent of adults and 31.1 per cent of children found to be overweight.
Jenny Jones who forwarded the motion noted, “London won the right to host the 2012 Games with the promise to deliver a legacy of more active, healthier children across the world. Yet the same International Olympic Committee that awarded the Games to London persists in maintaining sponsorship deals with purveyors of high calorie junk that contributes to the threat of an obesity epidemic.”
McDonalds has been an Olympic sponsor since 1976, while Coca-Cola has supported every Olympics since its creation in 1928.
The motion states:
1) The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) to recommend that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduces criteria for the selection of worldwide sponsors for future Games that exclude food and drinks companies strongly associated with high calorie brands and products linked to childhood obesity, and to encourage national organising committees to adopt similar criteria;
2) The Mayor of London to encourage the organisers of future major sporting events in London to adopt criteria for appointment of sponsors that exclude such food and drinks companies; and
3) The Government to consider introducing restrictions on advertising and exclusive marketing at major sporting events by such food and drinks companies.
It is unclear yet what effect if any this motion will have. Although one thing’s for certain and that is the IOC will not let this sponsorship go easily. It is estimated that commercial relationships such as this equate to over 40% of Olympic revenue. So it may just be a few more gold medals and backflips before we really see the IOC backflip on the burgers, fries and Cola.