Buyers should learn from Olympics contract battle

31 March 2011
A current contract dispute apparently taking place between the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) is a good reminder and lesson for buyers. The “narrow technical dispute” – which is how the BOA at least is describing it – concerns how any surplus made following “the games” should be calculated. And therein lies the nub of the disagreement. What does “the games” - as termed in the contract between the two – actually mean? Locog (backed up by a ruling in their favour by the International Olympic Committee) thinks it refers to both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The BOA is confident it doesn’t include the Paralympics, and is now going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to find a resolution. Differences in interpretation are nothing new - a well-known example is a case in Canada that came about because two parties could not agree the meaning of a clause as a result of the position of a comma. But it is yet another prompt to ensure terminology used in contracts is clear and unambiguous.
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