Paddy Power has forced the organisers of London 2012 into an embarrassing U-turn over moves to have the bookmaker’s latest billboard campaign removed.
The bookmaker announced yesterday it was seeking a High Court order preventing billboard site owner JCDecaux taking the posters down under instruction from LOCOG for apparently breaching strict rules on advertising around the Games. The posters around the capital declare Paddy Power the “Official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year!”, before going on to reveal it was actually referring to the town of London in France, where the bookmaker is holding an egg-and-spoon race on 1 August.
However, the bookmaker broke the news yesterday evening that LOCOG had backed down from the position it took on Tuesday, just moments before Paddy Power’s law firm Charles Russell was due to enter to the High Court seeking the court order against the organisers of the London 2012 Games.
A Paddy Power spokesman said: “This is a victory for common sense and for each and every one of our customers and fans who supported us along the way”, in reference to the tens of thousands of people who took to Twitter yesterday to vent their frustration at LOCOG’s decision, resulting in the bookmaker trending on the social networking site.
The betting and gaming giant, which will learn the outcome of its application to be found suitable for licensing in Nevada later today, said it was looking at recouping legal costs associated with the action from LOCOG, which if successful, would be donated in full to fund grassroots sports initiatives across the UK.