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Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare: I congratulate my noble friend Lord Brabazon on having gone through what was literally the letter of the law in order that the British Olympic Association should be properly protected. He has had to make a speech in which every single word had to be in place and everything had to be correct so that if it ever reaches the courts we are properly protected.
But let us have no doubt about why we are discussing this matter. We are here today because the British Olympic Association has been losing money year in and year out through people stealing the name or the sign. I start by thanking the Minister for giving me such assurance on the Olympic sign: the five great circles which represent the games.
I wish to tell my noble friend Lord Brabazon how much I appreciate what he has done for the Olympics association. I do not want any noble Lord to go home tonight with any doubt. The issue we are discussing is that of allowing our young people a better chance at the next Olympics. That is what this debate is about: allowing our young people to benefit from the Olympics. That is truly worthwhile. I thank my noble friend Lord Brabazon for the amount of time and effort he has expended to make sure that that will happen.
There are thousands of young children who do not have a clue that this debate is taking place. They have no idea at all. Why should they? They are out there on the tracks tonight running, doing the best they can. That is why we are here today. My noble friend Lord
My noble friend mentioned the problems we will have with the name. I do not want the Minister to be in any doubt about the name. If there are any doubts, they should go in favour of the British Olympic Association. One can have something like Olympic Airways. The Olympics started again in Athens in 1896 and of course Greece has a right to call its airline Olympic Airways. That is not what we are discussing today. We are discussing people who feel that they can make a few extra pounds by sticking "Olympic" on a sweat shirt or even on a restaurant. I do not want them to have those few extra pounds. I want that money to go to the British Olympic Association so that we do not have to bother the Government.
I said to the Minister when the Bill first came to this Chamber that we were not asking him for any moneynot a penny. The reason for putting this Bill through is so that the Government will not have to spend any money. The clauses point to that. I say to my noble friend Lord Brabazon that if there is any doubt about stealing or using the word, I am here to make sure that the benefit of that doubt goes in favour of the British Olympic Association and not someone who is trying to make money on the side.
I thank the Minister. I am delighted that we have been able to iron out the particular problem of the word. But I do not want him to go home tonight imagining that he has pushed through the Bill and nothing will happen. Some of us will fight if we find that the British Olympic Association has been taken advantage of and we shall not hesitate to remind him.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: Having been present for the Second Reading of the Bill, I know that there is no dispute in the Chamber; this is a good idea. In his inimitable way, from his experience and knowledge, the noble Lord, Lord Archer, emphasised how necessary it is to protect a great institution. There is no argument about that.
I do have some slight concerns. I cannot recall a private measure which carried so many amendments. Obviously, they are all designed to improve it. I have no doubt at all that consultations have taken place. I am not privy to the size of the problem. I respect what the noble Lord, Lord Archer, said. Sadly, we know that commerce has entered into sport to its detriment.
However, I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, can enlighten me on one point. The noble Lord, Lord Archer, referred to enormous sums of money which perhaps had been denied, filched or stolen. Can he say whether there are any figures available, or was that just a phrase? I accept that there are people who have deliberately taken advantage and dishonestly used the symbol, the words and the symbolism.
Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare: I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Perhaps I may give a classic example. At the Olympic Games, the badges are brought out. They are the badges that every child wants to have. All children want an Olympic badge. They can then say that they have been to the Olympic Games.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: That is a classic illustration of losing mineral rights. I take the noble Lord's point. But I should like clarification on one point. This measure controls what happens to that very precious commodity in this country. To what extent have comparable steps been taken under the law of other countries? We have jurisdiction only over what we say here. But can the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, inform us of the extent to which what we are doing is right and is being genuinely and altruistically promoted? We know that it is not a waste of time. But what about people in other parts of the worldthe great areas of population of America, China and Asia? I am at one with the noble Lord, Lord Archer, in saying that if there is a buck to be made, it should be made in the name of, given to and used by the bona fide Olympics association.
Perhaps I can remind the noble Lord, Lord Archer, why I take such a great interest in these matters. Besides knowing him and respecting his athletic prowess for many years, one of my early friends was a D'Oyly Carte singer, a girl called Sybil Evers. She married Harold Abrahams and they came to live in the Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire area about 40 years ago, beside the McWhirter twins. Harold Abrahams and Sybil Evers were not only great people whom I respected for their prowess, but also they were great ambassadors. As the noble Lord, Lord Archer, said, at the time of the Olympics, everybody is proud to find not only some means of identifying with the athletes and the country, but also with the concept. Therefore, with those few words from these Benches, we warmly support the ambitions and wish the amendments and the Bill well.
Viscount Astor: On behalf of the Government I should like to say that I am grateful for the support of the noble Lord, Lord Graham, and what was said by my noble friend Lord Archer. I should say to my noble friend that if he could still run as fast as he can speak forcefully, he would probably win a gold medal in the next Olympics.
The amendments that we have been discussing this evening are important. They close a loophole that may have been available to an unscrupulous user and again protect the rights of others with the amendments that I moved earlier. We are satisfied that the Bill, as amended, will satisfy both the interests of Olympic sport
Perhaps I may say one thing to the noble Lord, Lord Graham, which really adds to what my noble friend Lord Archer said. In order to bid for the Olympic Games the Bill must be enacted. But much more important than that, by enacting the Bill, as I said at Second Reading, money will be able to flow into the British Olympic Association which will enormously improve our chance of bringing Olympic medals back to this country.
Lord Addington: Before the noble Lord puts the amendment to the Committee, from these Benches I should like to say that we too support the Motion. The amendments seem to be reasonable and positive and I hope that the Committee does not object to them.
Lord Brabazon of Tara: I am grateful for the general support for the amendments from all those who have spoken, particularly my noble friend Lord Archer for his usual vehement style of supporting the Olympic movement, for which he is famous. I am delighted to know that he will monitor the situation carefully and ensure that nobody tries to infringe the Olympic right and symbol, to which we are all so attached.
My noble friend was also kind enough to give the noble Lord, Lord Graham, an indication of the kind of money that may be involved in the protection of the Olympic rights. It is not just the money that would have been lost before the passing of the legislation, but it is also the money that has been foregone by the difficulties that the Olympic Association experienced in marketing the Olympic symbol and the Olympic name to potential sponsors because of its inability to offer concrete exclusivity to such commercial sponsors. There was always a danger that somebody else would come along and devalue the sponsorship which was bought by well-meaning, commercial organisations in order to help the Olympic Association.
We shall not know until the legislation is passed and until the next Olympic Games how much it will be worth to the British Olympic Association. Like my noble friend Lord Archer I hope that it will be worth a good deal and go towards helping some of our young Olympic athletes to win gold the next time round.
The noble Lord, Lord Graham, asked about the situation overseas. The Bill only deals with the situation in this country. It covers the question of imports and therefore any goods which are imported from another country which attempt to infringe the Olympic symbol, will be caught by the Bill. Anyone who wants to import goods will have to negotiate an arrangement with the British Olympic Association, which will no doubt be able to charge for the proper use of that. Similar legislation exists in many countries throughout the world including, in Europe, Germany and Spain. I hope that with those words of explanation the Committee will be pleased to accept the amendment.
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