Bosco to withhold IOC branding rights at Pyeongchang 2018

Russian sportswear company Bosco has said it will ask the International Olympic Committee not to use its brand during the 2018 winter Olympic Games amid displeasure at the sanctions imposed on the Russian team for next year’s event.

Bosco will serve as the exclusive supplier of clothing to the IOC from next year. Mikhail Kusnirovich, board head for the group, told the Reuters news agency that while it has already supplied the Pyeongchang 2018 apparel to the IOC, it will request that its brand is not present.

The IOC this month banned Russia from competing at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics after finding evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of doping results surrounding the 2014 Games in Sochi.

The IOC also suspended Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko – who was Sports Minister when the Sochi Games took place and is spearheading the country’s preparations for football’s 2018 Fifa World Cup – was banned from participating at future editions of the Olympics.

The IOC said that some individual Russian athletes will be able to participate at the Pyeongchang Games, which will run from February 9-25, as an “Olympic Athlete of Russia” if they can satisfy a series of conditions in relation to their doping-free track record. However, neither the Russian flag nor the Russian national anthem will be shown or heard at the Games.

Kusnirovich said: “I think that in the near future, I will come up with a proposal to the IOC… to deactivate our rights… Even such beautiful chic clothes – let them keep them, but the Bosco brand and what we own… I will ask for that not to be activated.”

Bosco had held a long-running partnership with the ROC, which ran from 2002 until January this year. In March, the ZA Sport arm of Russian designer ZA Group agreed an eight-year deal to serve as a general partner of the ROC, as well as the official outfitter of the Russian Olympic team.

Kusnirovich added: “We are doing this to be proud of ourselves, so that we’d be happy. That’s why I’ve taken the decision today not to enable (the brand to be used) and (to) drop the activation of our sponsorship rights until the National Olympic Committee of Russia gets its accreditation back and its rights are restored.”

Bosco’s announcement came as the IOC yesterday (Wednesday) outlined the branding guidelines it will allow for Russia’s kit at Pyeongchang 2018. The IOC stated its restrictions around the use of “Olympic Athlete from Russia” on approved uniforms.

The IOC said “Russia” cannot be more prominent than the words “Olympic Athlete from.” The logo proposed by the IOC (pictured) features the complete phrase around a circle, with Russia upside down.

The exact colours of the red, white and blue Russian flag are not permitted, but darker tones of red and blue will be allowed. A maximum of two colours can be used, with the IOC specifically barring separate items of clothing that create a tricolour effect like the flag. The guidelines also prohibit “national identifications design elements.”