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AOC takes legal action against former partner Telstra

The Australian Olympic Committee is to take legal action against telecommunications company Telstra over what it feels is a misleading advertising campaign.

Telstra was a long-term partner of the AOC until its contract was mutually terminated last year.

Nevertheless, Telstra launched an ‘I go to Rio’ campaign in the build-up to the 2016 summer Olympic Games in the Brazilian city. The AOC feels the campaign implies that the two are still partners.

An AOC statement read: "In 2015, Telstra and the AOC mutually decided not to continue their long-standing partnership. It is therefore extremely disappointing to witness Telstra’s ‘I go to Rio’ marketing campaign which the AOC regards as a clear attempt to deceive Australians.

“Despite repeated attempts for cooperation, today the AOC has been left with no choice but to seek appropriate legal measures in the Federal Court. To be clear, Telstra is not a sponsor of Australia’s Olympic Team and has no official role with the Olympic Movement.”

Telstra claims the campaign is connected to its partnership with Australian commercial broadcaster Seven.

“Our current advertising simply promotes that commercial arrangement and that Telstra customers get free access to premium content through the Seven app,” a spokesman told the AAP news agency.

“The AOC raised concerns with us and so we updated our advertising to include an explicit statement that Telstra is not an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, any Olympic committees or teams.”

In December, the AOC entered into a 10-year partnership with Telstra rival Optus. The company was named the official telecommunications partner of the AOC, which hailed the deal as one of its “biggest ever”. The agreement became effective this year and will run through until 2026.