IAAF president Sebastian Coe has stepped down from his role as a Nike ambassador with immediate effect following recent claims of a conflict of interest.
While Coe has refuted the claims saying “perception and reality have become horribly mangled” he has agreed to step down to focus on his role with the IAAF.
“I don’t believe it was a conflict of interest,” said Coe, who earns a reported £100,000-a-year with Nike. “I have always declared my interests with Nike, but it was purely on a basis that I felt I needed to focus unflinchingly on the challenges ahead with my colleagues, and it had become a distraction, there’s no doubt about that.”
“I have sought advice from the IAAF’s Ethics Committee to review my interests and was told I could retain my positions in Nike and CSM as long as I do not seek to influence any decisions that could influence them,” Coe said at a news conference following an IAAF Council meeting.
“But it is clear that perception and reality have become horribly mangled. I have stepped down from Nike position I have held for 38 years. The noise has become intolerable and a distraction from the 18-hour days that we are working.”
His decision comes two days after allegations surfaced the Coe lobbied for Eugene to host the 2021 World Athletics Championships. The American city has close links with Nike and was awarded the event without a bidding process, despite strong interest from Swedish city Gothenburg.
Coe also announced that he will step down as chair of the British Olympic Association after the conclusion of the Rio Games next year.