TEAM GB kit provider Adidas has revealed unease at the growing prospect of former drug cheat sprinter Dwain Chambers representing the nation at the London 2012 Olympics.
Chambers (inset), who served a two-year ban for taking the steroid THG, is likely to be selected if, as expected, a landmark legal ruling quashes the British Olympic Association’s lifetime ban on dopers next month.
Despite notoriety, he remains one of the country’s most recognisable track stars and, should he compete, would be broadcast globally in kit made by Adidas, who cut ties with him following his ban in 2004.
“We are very clearly not favourable towards any type of doping – present, past or future,” Gil Steyaert, managing director of Adidas Group Market North, told City A.M.
“It’s not for me to put the rules in place. Different countries have different regulations, but very clearly we don’t support doping in that sense and we don’t push any athlete in that sense.
“It’s not our decision if he’s selected or not; that is for the BOA. We have no contract with Dwain Chambers. He has received kit in the past. If he’s part of the team, it’s the decision of the BOA, and he’ll be supported in the same way as everybody else.”
Steyaert was speaking at the launch of the new Team GB kit, which the sportswear giant hopes will help it achieve £100m net sales revenue from the Games.
Income from official merchandise is only half of its target, however; as Tier One sponsors it has exclusive rights to make all London 2012 clothing and accessories, which will be unbranded but hugely lucrative.
In order to achieve its goal, Adidas has increased its investment in the market “three or four-fold” and secured temporary warehouse space to cope with extra demand, but is also at the mercy of Team GB’s performances.
Steyaert added: “We’ve made the best ever kit and momentum behind the team; if they perform to expectations it will be a firework.”
Team GB football kit will be “a collectors’ item” he said, comparing its appeal to that of the British and Irish Lions rugby team, but said he had no indication whether Adidas-backed David Beckham would make the final squad.
“We would be very happy if David Beckham is part of that team,” Steyaert said. “I think everyone in the country would be.”