MONACO (Reuters) - Japanese sportswear giant Asics Corp will take over from Adidas as the official sponsor of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), a source with knowledge of the deal told Reuters on Friday.The IAAF is expected to announce the deal on Saturday. Adidas, who had signed 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.
“Adidas and the IAAF have agreed to terminate their existing partnership agreement in mutual agreement at the end of 2016,” the company said in a statement.
The 11-year sponsorship deal was reportedly worth at least $33 million.
News of its expected termination initially emerged at the end of 2015, at the height of the IAAF’s 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.
Last year an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation exposed state-sponsored Russian doping.
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 organized 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. Friday’s statement from Adidas added: ”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 U.S. 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 long-standing support. “While our commercial relationship concludes at the end of 2016, the IAAF is pleased that Adidas remains committed to Athletics. The IAAF will shortly make an announcement of a new Official IAAF Partner in the same category,” the IAAF said.
Adidas is one of the IAAF’s official partners, along with Canon, Toyota, Seiko, TDK, TBS and Mondo. The partnership between the IAAF and Adidas incorporated “every aspect of athletics, from product creation, to grassroots development and retail distribution”, according to a press release that accompanied the deal’s announcement in 2008.
Editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris