Not Quik enough: Nestle ends sponsorship of IAAF scheme
The food and drink company has terminated its agreement a year early over fears the doping and corruption scandals surrounding the sport could damage its reputation.
The company released the following statement:
"We have decided to end our partnership with the IAAF Kids’ Athletics programme with immediate effect," it 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 acknowledgment from them that our partnership has ended."
IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe said his organization would challenge the decision.
"I am angered and dismayed by today's kids' athletics announcement," he said. "We will not accept it. It's the kids who will suffer."
The governing body also released a statement saying they were still negotiating with Nestle and highlighted the health benefits of the program.
"In 2016, IAAF Kids' Athletics plans to reach a further 15 countries, training 360 lecturers, instructing 8,640 physical education teachers, with three million children participating by the end of the activation," it said.
Coe is under increasing pressure to deliver on his promise to clean up the sport, and has been traveling across the globe to address the concerns of corporate sponsors.
Nestle's decision follows close on the heels of Adidas' ending its 11-year $50 million sponsorship deal, which was due to run until 2019.
New doping scandals are emerging on an almost daily basis, with the latest involving two banned Kenyan athletes who have alleged that the chief executive of Athletics Kenya asked each of them for a $24,000 bribe to reduce their doping suspensions.
Hurdler Francisca Koki Manunga and 400-meter runner Joy Sakari accused Isaac Mwangi of demanding the payment back in October, but they couldn't raise the funds.
They received four-year bans a month later, but say they couldn't pursue a legal complaint because they had no proof to back up their accusations and also feared repercussions.
"We have heard stories: athletes coming and saying, 'Oh, you know, I was asked for money.' But can you really substantiate that?" Mwangi commented.
The athletes have said they will testify to the IAAF's ethics commission.