Top German sportswear manufacturing company, Puma, has announced that it will no longer be honouring its four-year sponsorship contract with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), various media sources report.

According to a letter signed by the company’s secretary, Manuel Edlheimb and dated Wednesday, August 4, 2021, the Germany firm emphatically stated that it was calling off the deal due to Nigeria’s athletes’ inability to wear the brand at the on-going Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Puma in the aforementioned letter captioned ‘Letter of Termination of Sponsoring and Licensing Agreement’, said that: ‘’ We are referring to the licensing and sponsoring agreement signed between our company and your federation.

“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”.

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Confirming the recent development, one of the brokers of the deal, and a factional technical director of the AFN, Sunday Adeleye told Premium Times that: ‘’ The letter is authentic. We don’t know yet if there will be any litigation but we are waiting for further correspondence with them (PUMA). As soon as we get any other information from them, we will make it public, as we have always done.

‘’ They had always been warning us and we said it but the Minister was hell-bent; thinking he was witch-hunting Sunday Adeleye and Gusau to spoil the deal for them, but that is not the case. This is about Nigeria, so he has shown that he is not patriotic. See where this has brought us to now. Many companies will definitely now not want to work with us,” he concluded

What you should know about the deal

In July 2019, Puma signed a four year sponsorship contract with the Shehu Gusau led AFN, in Doha. The deal was reportedly worth about $2.76 million (N1 billion). Among other benefits,  Puma by the provisions of the deal was meant to supply apparel to all age categories under the Nigeria’s Athletics team for four years and at zero cost.

In addition, gold medalists at the Olympic Games will earn $15,000; silver medalists will get $5,000, while a bronze medal winner would get $3,000.

Why the contract was terminated.

Experts on the subject matter who spoke to revealed what really transpired. An expert, who pleaded anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the matter, noted that the recent shame could be traced back to the ongoing legal battle between the factional AFN Board and the Sports Ministry.

According to the expert, the deal from the onset had elicited controversy between the Sports Ministry and the AFN, part of which led to the litigation of the matter. Recall that the faction AFN Board Chair, Gusau and technical director of the board who also brokered the deal, Sunday Adeleye, were both dragged to court by the Nigerian Police Force for an alleged diversion of over $75,000 from the deal.

As a result of this, the ministry failed to allow the Nigerian athletics team to wear the Puma branded apparel at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, arguing that it is a subject of a criminal investigation. This led to the eventual termination of the contract.