German sportswear manufacturing giants Puma has announced the termination of its $2.76 million four-year contract with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The contract was signed on July 24, 2019, in Doha by the AFN board under Ibrahim Gusau and was expected to expire in 2022.
It has however been the genesis of a major crisis that the athletics body is battling to date.
The crisis has further led to the split of the athletics body into two factions, with both Gusau and his vice president Sunday Adeleye accused of sidelining other members of the board during the signing of the deal.
But in a letter dated 4th August, signed by the company’s director Manuel Edlheimb and addressed to the AFN, the company said the premature ending of the deal is due to Nigerian athletes’ inability to wear the brand at the ongoing Olympics.
“We are referring to the licensing and sponsoring agreement signed between our company and your federation,” the letter read.
“As a direct consequence of the recent developments, particularly at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 and pursuant to clauses 9.2 and 7.3 of the Agreement, we hereby terminate the Agreement with immediate effect.
“Puma especially declares to be discharged from any or all obligations towards all stakeholders involved and reserves all rights against these entities and individuals,” Edlheimb said in the statement.
The AFN under Gusau had entered the $2.76 million deal with Puma with a significant section of the deal stating that the German manufacturers will supply kits to all age categories to Nigeria’s athletics team for four years.
The contract also includes monetary rewards for Nigerian athletes who wear the sportswear during medal presentations at the Olympics games — with gold medalists earning $15,000, silver medalists getting 5,000 while a bronze medal will attract $3,000.
While the Gusau group sent the Puma kits to Tokyo for the athletes, the Nigerian sports ministry insisted that Team Nigeria athletes were not going to use the kits at the ongoing Olympic games.
The Nigerian sports minister had said, “It is common knowledge that the former AFN president, Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, with his co-travellers, is desperate to extricate himself from a contract that he controversially signed the AFN into, which has now placed him in a position of trying to blackmail Team Nigeria into wearing the kits.
“Ibrahim Gusau has conveniently neglected to tell Nigerians that he and Sunday Adeleye signed a non-disclosure agreement with Puma, with the details unknown to the ministry and board members of the AFN.
“The minister and the ministry will not commit the Nigerian government and Nigerian athletes to a deal which the ministry has not sighted the contractual documents that ties Nigerian athletes to a five-year contract with Puma.”
By Abel Ejikeme