Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer insists the German sportswear company has not cancelled its sponsorship contract with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), despite reports to the contrary surfacing earlier this year.
The BBC claimed in January that Adidas was ending its deal early as a result of the doping scandal surrounding the sport.
But Hainer said the IAAF’s biggest sponsor is monitoring how world athletics is dealing with the matter while its current sponsorship agreement continues to run.
“We have not terminated our contract,” the German told a news conference to present his company’s annual results.
“The IAAF knows exactly where we are going with our policy in terms of doping.
“We are in very close contact with the IAAF and will watch very closely what they are doing with this problem.”
The 11-year deal is due to run until 2019 and was reported to be worth $33 million (£23 million/€30 million) when signed in 2008.
Adidas is one of the IAAF’s Official Partners, along with Canon, Toyota, Seiko, TDK, TBS and Mondo.
It was reported that the sportswear giant informed the IAAF in November that it was considering ending its relationship early after a report compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission detailed claims of state-supported doping within Russia.
Richard Pound, chairman of the WADA Independent Commission, delivered a second damning report in January that revealed “corruption was embedded” within the IAAF under former President Lamine Diack.
According to the BBC, a decision at the highest level in Adidas was taken within days of the report’s publication to terminate its relationship with the IAAF and its commercial partner Dentsu.
Adidas remains the oldest commercial partner of world football’s governing body FIFA, which adopted reforms last week to help overcome its corruption scandal.
Hainer welcomed the reforms, saying Adidas, along with other sponsors, were striving to ensure they are implemented.
In January, Kasper Rorsted, chief executive of consumer goods group Henkel, was announced as Hainer’s successor at the head of Adidas.
Rorsted, who is set to leave Henkel in April, will officially become Adidas chief executive on October 1, replacing the 61-year-old Hainer, who has headed the company since 2001.
- By Daniel Etchells
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz