It's Official: Right To Play is barred from 2010 Vancouver Olympic village
For the first time since its inception in 1992, Right To Play, which began as Olympic Aid under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee, will not be able to spread the word about their programs to educate and uplift youth in some of the most desolate places in the world through sport.
The Star first reported the news that the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) had denied Right To Play access to the village because the humanitarian organization had sponsors that directly conflicted with their own.
These include Mitsubishi, which had recently given Right To Play a $480,000 donation. General Motors Canada has a $67 million deal with VANOC and their communications director, Stu Low, complained there was “guerilla marketing going on.”
A public backlash when the news about the ban broke prompted VANOC and GM Canada to say the issue was being revisited and both expressed confidence the issues could be resolved.
But Johann Olav Koss, the ceo of Right To Play, said he had received a letter from the International Olympic Committee saying that they would not be accepted into the village and that they were not renewing the memorandum of understanding the two groups shared. That means they will have no village access and won’t be officially part of of the Olympics in any way.
Koss said he never heard back from VANOC after they went public saying they would work to resolve the issues.
“We sent suggestions of how we could partner without infringing on their Olympic rights and, of course, their sponsors, which we are in full support of,” Koss said. “And we have never had any issues with our normal Olympic partners and have never of course given them any access to the village. I sent them suggestions for partnership. I never heard back from them, with the exception of this letter I received from the IOC.”
The letter from the IOC came at the end of December.
“I got it the day before Christmas Eve, so it was a nice Christmas present,” said Koss.