ADIDAS WITHDRAWS SPONSORSHIP
In a blow to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Adidas, its most substantial sponsor, terminates its 11-year sponsorship deal four years early after a recent alleged doping crisis.
The move is predicted to cost IAAF approximately £21m in revenue over the next four years, a cut in numbers that were previously expected to double due in part to the summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro this year.
Initial deal-ending claims originally circulated in November last year after the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) developed an independent commission that examined allegations of doping, under-the-table deals, corruption in Russian athletics and implications of the IAAF’s involvement. After a second report was delivered earlier last month by Wada commission’s chairman, Dick Pound, with claims of embedded corruption within IAAF under former president Lamine Diack, Adidas briskly terminated its deal. The German multinational company considers the evidence of doping as a breach of the agreement between the two establishments.
Focus is now on what the IAAF will do for future reparation of this reputational damage. There are questions surrounding the involvement of the current IAAF president, and the previous eight-year vice-president, Sebastian Coe’s involvement, as the report insists that leading figures in the federation had knowledge of these breaches. Three senior IAAF officials have already been banned for life after links with multiple breaches of anti-doping rules relating specifically to Russian track and field athlete Liliya Shobukhova. Russia has also been provisionally banned from participating and hosting international competitions until clearance to regain membership following accusations of running a state-sponsored doping programme; participation in the Olympic games this summer is still prohibited.