Sponsor suspends deal with Asafa Powell after dope charge
Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning has suspended its deal with Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell as the fallout from his positive drugs test escalates.
The business has threatened to terminate its deal with the athlete pending the outcome of the investigations from anti-doping officials. It follows revelations earlier this week that the Jamaican runner along with five other athletes tested positive for banned substances earlier this year. Powell has denied the allegations, however, top sponsor Li Ning has dropped the star from its website in a bid to distance itself from the scandal.
The company said it “strongly” supports the star’s “proactive” approach towards the incident and his cooperation with the Anti-Doping Agency, but it has put on hold its deal.
In a statement it said: “As a world- renowned sprinter, Powell has performed excellently in his professional career, and the Company has great respect for his efforts and hard work. However, as a professional sportswear company, Li Ning company has always adhered to the spirit of sports, and is firmly opposed to any acts of deceit that tarnishes the principles of fair competition.
“The company will be following the incident closely and has suspended its sponsorship with Powell pending the outcome of the investigations. If he is found to be involved in the use of banned stimulants, Li Ning company will immediately terminate its sponsorship contract with Powell.”
Li Ning’s announcement comes just days after Adidas suspended its tie-up with American 100m record holder Tyson Gay, who is also being investigated. The company said it would terminate the partnership should results from a second test come back positive. The American’s other sponsors Omega and TDK have not issued statements in the hours since the announcement.