LONDON (Reuters) - National Olympic Committees should take the lead in helping athletes win more freedom to promote their personal sponsors during Games, the head of the Global Athlete movement said on Monday. Rule 40 of the Olympic charter states that participants in the Olympic Games cannot allow their \u201cperson, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.\u201d The German Cartel Office ruled in February, however, that the IOC and German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) were subject to competition laws and must grant more rights for promotional activities ahead of and during the Games. The ruling only applies in Germany and IOC President Thomas Bach was quoted as saying at the weekend that other athletes should talk directly to their National Olympic Committee (NOC) or federation. \u201cWe welcome the fact that the IOC is now starting to raise this issue, which has long been on the minds of the overwhelming majority of Olympic athletes,\u201d said Global Athlete director general Rob Koehler. \u201cThis is a first step to recognizing the growing mood among the athlete community to have their marketing and commercial rights liberated at an Olympic Games.\u201d Koehler told Reuters that he would have preferred the IOC to put the onus on NOCs rather than leaving it up to athletes who lacked the staff and time. \u201cI would have liked to see it flipped around a little bit saying \u2018responsibility on the NOCs to see what we can do to help you athletes\u2019,\u201d he said. The insidethegames.biz website quoted Bach on Sunday as telling the International Athletes\u2019 Forum in Lausanne that there was no one-size-fits-all solution. \u201cWhat we are doing now is actively contacting NOCs and starting talks advising them of what we agreed after the DOSB negotiated this with the Cartel Office in Germany. We will find out what it means for them,\u201d he said. \u201cMy recommendation to you as athlete representatives is that you approach your NOCs or federations and enter into a binding agreement of what are the rights and responsibilities of an athlete.\u201d Rule 40 is aimed at protecting the rights of the IOC\u2019s own Olympic sponsors who contribute billions of dollars to the organization of the Games. Koehler, a former deputy director general of the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), also replied to Bach telling athletes they did not need those \u201cwho pretend to speak on your behalf\u201d. \u201cBased on what I\u2019ve heard from the athletes, they really want people to stand up for them and to represent their rights,\u201d he said. Global Athlete is being funded by independent foundation FairSport along with individual donors who have no part in the decision making or operations of the movement. The organization, set up after a Russian doping crisis and USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, aims to empower Olympic athletes. Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby DavisOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.