London: Rupert Murdoch`s British
newspapers are set to lose exclusive access to British
athletes ahead of the 2012 London Olympics after the phone
hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the
Team 2012, an initiative supporting British Olympians,
had signed up News International as its official partner to
help raise funds for athletes.
But the British branch of Murdoch`s media empire can
no longer meet its Team 2012 contractual obligations after the
168-year-old Sunday tabloid News of the World was closed in an
attempt to defuse the uproar over illegal journalism
With Team 2012 now looking for new media partnerships,
News International`s remaining publications, The Sun, The
Times and The Sunday Times, are unlikely to be able to retain
the "Official Newspaper of Team 2012" slogan.
"The Team 2012 joint venture, including Visa as its
presenting partner, has had a contract with the News
International Group as its official media partner," Team 2012
said in a statement. "As a result of the closure of News of
the World the contract can no longer be fulfilled as
originally envisaged ... to help drive national support for
Team 2012 we are now exploring media partnerships across a
range of channels."
Team 2012 has so far raised almost two thirds of its
25-million pound (USD 40.4 million) fundraising target,
providing funds for the British Olympic Association and UK
Sport to invest.
"(We) are working to make sure that we continue to
give the 1,200-plus athletes from Team 2012 Visa the best
chance of achieving success by competing for Team GB and
Paralympics GB at London 2012," the Team 2012 statement said.
The long-simmering phone hacking scandal exploded
earlier this month when it emerged that News of the World had
intercepted, and deleted, the voicemail messages of Milly
Dowler, a 13-year-old who was kidnapped in 2002 and later