Adidas is in talks to end its sponsorship deal with athletics’ world governing body in the wake of the sport’s doping scandal.
The sportswear giant is looking to end its contract with the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) four years early, according to sources.
The move comes after a damning report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) which said the London 2012 Olympic Games was “sabotaged” by “state-sponsored” Russian doping.
Insiders at the IAAF – which is led by Lord Coe – have insisted it may not suffer financially from the potential loss of its biggest sponsor, while adidas has refused to confirm that it wants to end the deal.
An adidas spokeswoman 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.”
The IAAF said in a statement: “The IAAF is in close contact with all its sponsors and partners as we embark on our reform process.”
Adidas is also the oldest commercial partner of world football’s governing body, Fifa, which is embroiled in its own corruption scandal. However the German multinational has not joined with Fifa’s other major sponsors in demanding reforms and calling for Sepp Blatter to quit as president.
The IAAF deal was signed in 2008 and was reported at the time to be 33 million US dollars (£23 million). 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 £5.6 million a year.
IAAF insiders insist that the potential end of the deal will not be a major financial blow for the organisation as it sold the rights to Japanese-based marketing agency Dentsu, which then sold them on to adidas.
Earlier this month, Wada’s chairman, Dick Pound, delivered a report which revealed “corruption was embedded” within the IAAF under former president Lamine Diack.
Former Olympic champion Lord Coe, who was elected president of the IAAF in August last year, has faced mounting calls to explain how much he knew about doping and corruption after serving as vice president since 2007.
Canon, Toyota, Seiko, TDK, Tokyo Broadcasting System and Mondo are listed as IAAF’s other commercial partners.