Nestle has asked to terminate its sponsorship of crisis-hit athletics world governing body the IAAF over fears the deal was damaging the Swiss-based food and drinks giant’s image.
The decision, a year before the end of Nestle’s five-year partnership, follows a similar move by sportswear group Adidas last month. The IAAF has been tarnished by allegations that leading officials extorted bribes from athletes in exchange for covering up doping.
“We have decided to end our partnership with the IAAF Kids Athletics programme with immediate effect,” Nestle said.
“This decision was taken in light of negative publicity associated with allegations of corruption and doping in sport made against the IAAF.
“We believe this could negatively impact our reputation and image and will therefore terminate our existing agreement with the IAAF, established in 2012.
“We have informed the IAAF of our decision and await a formal acknowledgement from them that our partnership has ended.”
The IAAF, whose new president Lord Coe has vowed to clean up the sport following damning criticism from the World Anti-Doping Agency, confirmed that it was “in discussion with Nestle regarding the final year of its five-year partnership”.
Three athletics officials, including the son of Coe’s predecessor, were handed life bans by the IAAF last month after being found guilty of blackmailing Russian distance runner Liliya Shobukhova in exchange for covering up the former London Marathon winner’s doping over a period of more than three years.