German sportswear manufacturing company Puma has announced the dissolution of their kits contract with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The German company disclosed the termination of the four-year deal in a letter dated August 4 and was signed by PUMA’s Director Manuel Edlheimb obtainable to SaharaReporters on Thursday.
“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.
“The official notification is dispatched to all stakeholders listed on page two,” Edlheimb said in the statement.
The AFN under the leadership of Ibrahim Gusau had agreed the $2.76 million (about N1.2 billion) deal with Puma on July 24, 2019, in Doha, Qatar but the contentious deal is one of the major causes of the crisis rocking the agency.
It had split 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.
The Sunday Dare-led sports ministry insisted that Team Nigeria athletes were not going to use Puma kits at the ongoing Olympic Games despite the Gusau group sending them to Tokyo.
“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,” the sports minister, Dare said.
Before Team Nigeria’s departure, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo had unveiled Afa Sports as the official kits supplier for Team Nigeria.
But explaining the cause of the crisis, Adeleye, a former Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, said the AFN already had a contract with Puma.
In an interview with Arise TV, Adeleye said, “There is another disaster waiting for Nigeria. We have a contract with Puma, which we signed in 2019 and we got kits worth $2.7 million. Puma were supposed to kit Nigerian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics but the minister is saying the athletes should not wear them because he is bringing another company to kit them.
“Now, Puma is already threatening because part of the agreement was that we would wear the kits at the Olympics. Now that we are not wearing these kits at the Olympics, Nigeria risks being charged to court for breach of contract.”
Adeleye said the Puma kits were still made available for the athletes but the sports minister, Dare said rejected offer.
Adeleye added, "We know there is this leadership crisis, but we agreed that even though we are not going to the Olympics the team should have the kits which have since been supplied.
"They are our athletes going to Japan to compete for our country. Mark it, we did not pay a dime, But the minister is saying because he has a problem with Ibrahim Gusau and Sunday Adeleye you will not have the kits. $2.7 million dollar worth of kits for free for 5 years. In this country where we are borrowing to do almost everything, you are saying you don’t care if Puma will take us to court? I think something is wrong somewhere.”
According to Adeleye, the Puma kits were sent to the Nigerian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan but the minister insisted that Team Nigeria would have nothing to do with the kits.
This, according to him, could be costly if Puma presses for compensation.
According to the Gusau-led AFN, gold medallists at the Olympic Games were billed to get $15,000, silver medallists, $5,000, and bronze medallists $3, 000 from the terminated Puma deal.