As if to confirm that the the twenty-first century Olympic spirit is concerned with money first and sport second, the British government announced last week it will introduce a bill within the next few days to ban all unauthorised Olympic-associated marketing activity.

The announcement came within hours of learning that London had won the bid to host the 2012 Games, underscoring that the Blair administration has got its priorities in the right order.

The bill will be introduced almost immediately to ensure itis shoehorned throught its second reading before Parliament goes into its twelve week summer recess on July 21.

The Blair-blessed bill will criminalise advertising in and around Olympic venues other than that placed by official sponsors. It will also protect the word 'Olympic' and the Olympic rings logo from use in advertisements unapproved by the International Olympic Committee.

But the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, representing Britain's ad agencies, is concerned there be no undue restriction of sponsorship. Its legal director Marina Palomba is urging the British Olympic Association to zealously guard the signage of venues.

"If you give the event holders, including the Olympics, too much power, sponsorship prices go up," she said. "You want to protect official sponsors while balancing the rights of freedom of commercial expression.

Continued Palomba: "The games have been depicted as being of benefit for the whole of the UK, particularly Londoners, and regarding all the small businesses who could never hope to be official sponsors, we are concerned that an extension of the law to prevent any association of the games will be too strict."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff