Nestlé decision sparks sports sponsorship row

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health

Nestlé ended the sponsorship deal on fears the association may have damaged its reputation
Nestlé ended the sponsorship deal on fears the association may have damaged its reputation
Food and drink manufacturing giant Nestlé has sparked controversy by ending its sponsorship deal with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), after the organisation became mired in both corruption and doping allegations.

The manufacturer said it was ending its partnership with the IAAF Kids Athletics programme with immediate effect.

“This decision was taken in light of the negative publicity associated with allegations of corruption and doping in sport made against the IAAF,”​ said Nestlé in a statement.

‘Negatively affect our reputation’

“We believe these allegations could negatively affect our reputation and image, and will therefore terminate our existing agreement with the IAAF which was established in 2012.”

IAAF president Lord Coe reacted angrily to the decision. “We will not accept it,”​ Coe told BBC Sport. “It’s the kids who will suffer.”

Nestlé acknowledged criticism that terminating the sponsorship will negatively affect children. But it pledged to remain committed to children’s nutrition and health, notably through its Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme.

‘Helping children’

“Our work focuses on helping children to understand the role that nutrition plays in their lives, focusing on nutrition education and physical education,”​ it said.

Last year the manufacturer claimed to have worked in 84 countries around the world, with 285 local partners. The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme had been delivered to more than 8M children, it claimed.

Nestlé was in the last year of its sponsorship deal.

Meanwhile, in January sports clothing firm Adidas ended its sponsorship deal with the IAAF for similar reasons. The value of this sponsorship deal has been estimated to be worth up to $8M a year.

Nestlé’s sponsorship statement

“Nestlé has decided to end its partnership with the IAAF Kids Athletics programme with immediate effect. This decision was taken in light of the negative publicity associated with allegations of corruption and doping in sport made against the IAAF. We believe these allegations could negatively affect our reputation and image, and will therefore terminate our existing agreement with the IAAF which was established in 2012.

“Critics of our decision say that ending the partnership with the IAAF will negatively affect children. There is no question that we remain committed to children’s nutrition and health, notably through our Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme. Our work focuses on helping children to understand the role that nutrition plays in their lives, focusing on nutrition education and physical education. Last year we were working in 84 countries around the world, with 285 local partners, delivering the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme to over 8 million children.”

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