Asics takes over from Adidas as IAAF sponsor in three-year deal

Japanese sportswear giant Asics Corp has taken over from Adidas as the official sponsor of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the IAAF confirmed on Saturday.

Adidas, which had an 11-year sponsorship deal with the IAAF that was set to run until 2019, said on Friday it was ending the deal three years early. The 11-year deal was reportedly worth at least $33m.

But with the IAAF agreeing president Sebastian Coe’s reform package at a special congress in Monaco, it was revealed that Asics had signed a three-year partnership. No financial details were given.

Coe said on Saturday: “Global athletics starts a new chapter today based upon solid foundations of modern governance and a renewed determination to protect and promote clean athletes. We are delighted to have attracted Asics, a world-class sportswear designer and manufacturer, as our latest official IAAF partner to share this new journey with us.

“This agreement is a huge endorsement of a bright future for athletics whose universality and diversity makes it a natural partner for a global corporation like Asics.”

News of the expected Adidas termination initially emerged at the end of 2015, at the height of a corruption scandal. Media reports at the time said Adidas would be pulling out four years before the original contract ended as a result of doping and corruption controversies in the sport.

It also said “corruption was embedded” at the IAAF under the governing body’s former president Lamine Diack who, it added, ran a clique that covered up organised doping and blackmailed athletes while senior officials looked the other way.

He and his son Papa Massata Diack are currently under investigation by French authorities on corruption and money laundering charges.

But in Friday’s statement from Adidas, the sports giant did not refer to its reasons for leaving. Instead it said: “We would like to thank the IAAF for a successful and professional co-operation and we wish them all the best for the future. Adidas will continue to remain committed to the sport of athletics by putting a higher focus on individual athletes as part of its company strategy.”

Adidas has spent heavily in an effort to chip away at the US dominance of rival Nike, including collaborations with singers such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams as well as top sportsmen and women.

The IAAF issued a statement thanking Adidas for its longstanding support. “While our commercial relationship concludes at the end of 2016, the IAAF is pleased that Adidas remains committed to Athletics,” it said.

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