Athletics

Adidas seek answers from IAAF over reforms

IAAF logo (Getty Images)
IAAF logo (Getty Images)

Berlin - Adidas is in "close contact" with the international athletics federation IAAF amid a BBC report it is ending a sponsorship deal with track and field's governing body four years early.

The German sportswear giant said it has "a clear anti-doping policy in place" and was "in close contact with the IAAF to learn more about their reform process."

Adidas is acting following doping and corruption scandals which have affected athletics and the IAAF, the BBC said.

The company is one of IAAF's biggest sponsors and is also a major sponsor of football world governing body FIFA.

In December, Adidas chairman Herbert Hainer said he could not rule out an end to the company's sponsorship of FIFA if football's world governing body does not reform itself.

Athletics has been rocked by a French criminal investigation and a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on corruption within the IAAF under former president Lamine Diack.

Diack and his two sons, Cisse and Dolle, are also subject of a criminal investigation by French authorities on corruption and covering up of positive doping tests.

Russia's athletics federation has been provisionally suspended from track and field by the IAAF and could miss out on this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

According to the BBC, Adidas informed the IAAF in November it was considering ending their relationship early after a WADA report detailed claims of "state sponsored doping" within Russia.

A WADA report earlier this month that said corruption was "embedded" within the IAAF under Diack has now led to Adidas terminating its relationship with the IAAF, the report said.

The 11-year agreement was signed in 2008 and due to run until 2019.

If confirmed, the loss of Adidas would be a major blow to the IAAF and its president, Sebastian Coe, who succeeded Diack in August.

Coe, who has been an IAAF council member since 2003 and was vice-president between 2007 and 2015 until succeeding Diack, has come under scrutiny for his role at the federation and his response to doping allegations.

FIFA has also lost sponsors in the wake of corruption allegations and criminal investigations.

In the summer, Adidas declined to join other sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Visa in calling for FIFA president Joseph Blatter's immediate resignation, but did say reform was needed.

Adidas chairman Hainer told the Handelsblatt newspaper in December that FIFA was "on the right course" to reforms.

Adidas, which has agreement with FIFA until 2030, would continue its partnership if reforms were accomplished. If not "we would consider what the alternatives are," he said.

The sports goods company is a long-standing partner of FIFA having supplied the World Cup match ball at every tournament since 1970 and last year extended their sponsorship deal.

Blatter in December was banned from football for eight years, along with UEFA president Michel Platini, by FIFA's ethics committee.

A new FIFA president will be elected at an extraordinary congress in Zurich on February 26.

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