Nestlé concerned about public-image; terminates IAAF sponsorship
IAAF's fate refused to look up as Nestlé terminated its sponsorship of the IAAF's global Kids Athletics scheme a year early. It feared that association with IAAF's corruption and doping scandals were damaging Nestlé's public image. However, the IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he was angry and that IAAF "wouldn't allow Nestlé to end the deal" which supports 15 million children in 76 countries.
IAAF is the world governing body for the sport of track and field athletics. IAAF annually conducts an extensive anti-doping programme, including 3500 in- and out-of-competition tests. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established to bring consistency in anti-doping policies within sports organizations and governments right across the world. Its activities include development of anti-doping capacities, monitoring of the World Anti Doping Code, etc.
Files of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) containing the results of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012 were leaked by a whistleblower. Britain's Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR which had access to these files claimed that atleast 800 athletes (1 in 7) had recorded blood-test results described by experts as "highly suggestive of doping" or "abnormal".
The doping accusations have been aired by ARD just weeks before the start of the 2015 Athletics World Championships in Beijing on 22 Aug 2015.
Star athletes such as Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and Britain's Mo Farah recorded no abnormal results. Ten medals at the 2012 Olympics were won by athletes who had dubious test results. Russia emerged as "the blood testing epicentre of the world" with more than 80% of the country's medals won by suspicious athletes, while Kenya had 18 medals won by suspicious athletes.
ARD in Dec 2014 alleged that 99% of Russian athletes were guilty of doping. It claimed that Russian officials accepted payment from athletes to supply banned substances and cover up tests. An independent commission led by Richard Pound was formed to investigate the same.
IAAF stated that it was "aware of serious allegations made against the integrity and competence of its anti-doping programme". IAAF also said the allegations were based on analysis of its database of private and confidential data obtained without consent. It also said that it would reserve the right to take any follow up action necessary to protect the rights of IAAF and its athletes.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said that it was "very alarmed" by the claims of athletes' suspicious doping tests. WADA chief Craig Reedie said that he would pass on the investigation to the independent commission formed in Dec 2014 to look into allegations of doping by Russian athletes. He also said that the allegations would "shake the foundation of clean athletes worldwide."
In a serious blow to IAAF, it biggest sponsor Adidas decided to end ties with IAAF, 3 years ahead of its contract termination period. Adidas had signed an 11-year deal with the IAFF in 2008 worth around £23 million. However, the doping and corruption scandal have urged Adidas to pull out. This move will lead to IAAF losing a large chunk of its income.