International Association of Athletics Federation President Seb Coe has severed his ties as an ambassador for Nike, he announced in a press conference on Thursday.
"The current noise around it is not good for the IAAF and it is not good for Nike," Coe said.
The two-time Olympic 1,500-meter champion has been sponsored by Nike since his days as a professional athlete. He has come under fire since assuming the role of IAAF president in August for not abandoning his links with the global sports apparel giant, which some view as a conflict of interest within the sport.
Coe's role with Nike was described as an international advisor and an ambassador for the "Designed to Move"campaign, which aims to tackle the global inactivity epidemic.
Coe also added that his company, CSM, will not bid for any athletics deals while he is president.
Coe reportedly discussed Eugene's bidding for the 2021 IAAF World Championships with Nike officials, according to BBC's Mark Daly. Eugene was awarded the 2021 outdoor track and field championships in April, not too long after losing the bidding for the 2019 world championships to Doha.
Coe says that he encouraged Eugene bid organizers to re-enter the process but did not lobby anyone on behalf of the Eugene 2021 bid, particularly Nike.
In an internal Nike email, obtained by BCC, Craig Masback, director of business affairs for Nike's Global Sports Marketing tells TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna that he discussed Eugene's bidding for 2021 with Coe.
“I spoke with Seb this morning” the email read. “We covered several topics but I asked specifically about 2021. “He made clear his support for 2021 in Eugene but made equally clear he had reached out to Diack specifically on this topic and got a clear statement from Diack that ‘I am not going to take any action at the April meeting (in Beijing) to choose a 2021 site’”
Gothenburg, Sweden was among the cities looking to host the 2021 world championships. Bid organizers told The Sunday Times they were not given a fair and transparent process as promised by former IAAF President Lamine Diack and Coe.
The report by BBC also revealed that British taxpayer money was being used by UK Sport and contributed about $95,000 to a British public relations company to assist Coe's presidential campaign.
- Christopher Chavez