News International's contract to be the exclusive media partner of Team GB's athletes in the runup to the London Olympics has been torn up in the wake of the hacking scandal.
The contract gave the embattled newspaper group's titles – the Times, Sunday Times, Sun and now-closed News of the World – exclusive access to British athletes as they prepared for the games, and allowed them to use the slogan "Official Newspaper of Team 2012". Athletes including Sir Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington and Jessica Ennis would have been inextricably linked to the newspapers.Announcing the deal earlier this year, the then News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, said: "This unique partnership gives our newspapers unrivalled access to the Team 2012 athletes and means we will be able to throw our full support behind the team and give our readers the inside track."
Before the News of the World's demise, a host of brands pulled their advertising from the title and a handful cancelled deals with the entire group. But the symbolism of Britain's Olympic athletes turning their back on the Sun could prove particularly damaging.
The decision is understood to have been made by all of the joint venture partners in the Team 2012 initiative, which was launched to raise money for British sport.
The partners include the London organising committee chaired by Lord Coe, the British Olympic Association (BOA), Paralympics GB and UK Sport, the government agency that allocates public money to Olympic sport.
"The Team 2012 joint venture, including Visa as its presenting partner, has had a contract with the News International Group as its official media partner," said Team 2012 in a statement. "As a result of the closure of News of the World, the contract can no longer be fulfilled as originally envisaged."
It added: "All parties in the joint venture are working to make sure that we continue to give the 1,200-plus athletes from Team 2012 Visa the best chance of achieving success ... at London 2012. To help drive national support for Team 2012, we are now exploring media partnerships across a range of channels."
Team 2012 was conceived last year to help fill a gap in the public funding allocated to Olympic sport, and funnels funds to both UK Sport and the BOA.
"To date, Team 2012 has raised £15.6m for British athletes and their support services and we are continuing to fund-raise with an aim to reach up to £25m," said a Team 2012 spokeswoman.
Please login to add to favorites
Already added to favorites
Added as Favorite