IAAF likely to run with Nike as adidas pull plug over doping scandal

The IAAF is expected to offer Nike the opportunity to take over as a top sponsor from rivals adidas after it was revealed the German sportswear giant is set to end its deal four years early.

Adidas is in talks with athletics’ world governing body to withdraw its sponsorship in the wake of the doping scandal which has rocked the sport.

Adidas’ lawyers are looking to end the deal but IAAF insiders insist that it will not mean a major financial blow for the organisation.

The IAAF may not suffer financially as it sold the rights to Japanese-based marketing agency Dentsu which then sold them on to adidas in 2008. The prospect of Nike being tempted to replace adidas also looks possible, especially given the 38-year relationship between the company and IAAF president Lord Coe, who took over from Lamine Diack in August.

Adidas would not confirm it wanted to end the sponsorship agreement.

A statement said: “As you know adidas has a clear anti-doping policy in place. Therefore, we are in close contact with the IAAF to learn more about their reform process.”

It follows two damning reports by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) independent commission which revealed “state-sponsored” doping in Russia and raised questions about widespread doping in other countries.

Adidas’ action is in contrast to its position with world football’s governing body, FIFA, where it did not join with the other major sponsors in demanding reforms and for Sepp Blatter to quit.

The IAAF deal was signed in 2008 and was reported at the time to be 33million US dollars (£23m). The BBC has reported that taking into account the ’value in kind’ part of the agreement for kit and equipment the value could be as high as £5.6million a year.

Adidas has in recent years tried to position itself as being firmly anti-doping - some observers say as a deliberate tactic to point the finger at its main rivals Nike, who sponsor high-profile athletes who have served doping bans such as sprinter Justin Gatlin.

Tyson Gay was dropped by adidas when he tested positive for a banned substance in 2013.

Coe, who succeeded the since-disgraced Diack five months ago, was a paid Nike ambassador for many years – including with his own parking place at its Oregon headquarters – until he announced in November he was severing links from the company after criticism about possible conflicts of interest.

Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack – currently wanted by Interpol over the scandal which saw Russian athletes blackmailed into paying money to cover up positive drugs findings – is understood to have been involved with the adidas sponsorship deal via Dentsu


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