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Saturday 30, May 2015

  Nike Becomes Suspected Player In FIFA Bribery Scandal

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Nike Becomes Suspected Player In FIFA Bribery Scandal

The U.S. Justice Department has announced that some surprising American names have emerged during an international investigation into bribery, fraud, and corruption at FIFA. It is rumored that the list of these names includes a major U.S. sportswear firm some believe could be Nike and the Miami chairman of a popular nationwide soccer league.

On early Wednesday morning, Swiss officials arrested seven officials from FIFA at their hotel in Zurich after a request was made by the US Department of Justice. Nine soccer officials and five sports executives were indicted while four have already pleaded guilty.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a press conference the investigation into the FIFA bribery scandal uncovered bribery going all the way back to 1991. She remarked they did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament. The Swiss Office of the Attorney General has opened its own criminal investigation a few hours after the DOJ-requested arrests of FIFA on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups.

It was disclosed by the Justice Department that more than $150 million in bribes have been fueled by five “unscrupulous” U.S. and South American sports and banking executives to officials atop FIFA. Investigators claim that the five U.S. and South American businesses acted secretly, hatched intricate money laundering schemes, smuggled cash, and wired tens of millions of dollars through offshore accounts from the Cayman Islands to Hong Kong.

It was alleged by the indictment that bribes were paid and pocketed in association with the sponsorship of the Brazilian national soccer team by a major U.S. sportswear company. The indictment revealed that the sportswear firm signed a 10-year, $160 million sponsorship deal with the Brazilian team in 1996. Though investigators have not named the company, the deal value closely matches clothes, shoes, and equipment deal of Nike with the Brazilian team that year. The indictment also alleged that a sportswear-company official agreed three days later to permit Traffic Brazil, a sports marketing company, to charge additional “marketing fees.” The sports Marketing Company then invoiced the company for tens of millions of dollars more in payments over a period of next three years that investigators say were bribes.

The Brazilian sponsorship deal helped dramatically in transformation of Nike, which was previously known primarily for running and basketball shoes, into global sports giant. The soccer revenue of Nike surpassed $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2014, up from $40 million in 1994.

In reaction to the allegations, a Nike representative said in a statement that the company is concerned by the very serious allegations and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery. The statement added Nike is cooperating with the authorities.

Market analysts believe there would have minimal impact on the Big Swoosh even if Nike was implicated. The investors of Nike seemed to shrug off the issue to send stock of the $88 billion giant fell less than 1 percent. Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst for NPD Group, remarked what fans or consumers are going to be much more concerned about is doping of athletes, fixing of matches, that kind of thing and added he thinks they couldn’t care less who paid whom for what marketing deal.

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Sunday 29, Mar 2015

  Nike Criticized For Justin Gatlin Deal

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Nike Criticized For Justin Gatlin Deal

Nike’s decision to sponsor Justin Gatlin has stirred controversy in elite running circles with many top athletes criticizing the deal.

Recently, Nike gave a new sponsorship deal to U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin who has served a doping ban of four years from 2006 to 2010. In 2006, Nike dropped its initial sponsorship of Gatlin.

Last year, the 33-year-old was the fastest man in the world but many doubted that he will get such a lucrative contract after twice being banned for doping. The American sprinter, who is an Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meters, ran the fastest-ever time for a man over the age of 30 when he ran a time of 9.80 in June 2012 at the US Olympic trials. He went on to become the world leader in the 200 meters on July 18, 2014 when he won his race in 19.68 seconds at the Diamond League event in Monaco.

Jason Gardener, who helped Great Britain to the 4×100-meter relay title at the 2004 Athens Games, remarked nothing surprises me but this another bad message being sent by our sport. Jason pointed to mounting evidence that systematic dopers reaped long-term residual benefits from their cheating and they therefore should receive harsher punishments.

Olympic silver medalist Steve Backley questioned message of Nike to young athletes. Former heptathlete Kelly Sotherton hit out at the deal and remarked what sort of a message is that from Nike signing new sponsorship with multiple drugs cheat Justin Gatlin.

Paula Radcliffe, the world record holder in the women’s marathon who is sponsored by Nike, also expressed her displeasure and said she is very disappointed to hear this news and added that she does not believe it truly reflects the core values of the Nike she is proud to represent, nor the integrity and ideals of the people there that she works with on a daily basis.

In 2001, Justin Gatlin received a brief suspension for an amphetamine contained in an attention deficit disorder drug he had been taking since childhood. On appeal, his suspension was shortened. Gatlin received an eight-year sentence for using “testosterone or its precursor” in 2006 though the athlete denied ever using such a substance. It was claimed by Gatlin’s coach, Trevor Graham, that the athlete had been sabotaged by a massage therapist who rubbed a cream containing testosterone onto Justin Gatlin. His ban was later reduced to four years as he cooperated in providing information to doping authorities and the “exceptional circumstances” of his first ban.

Travis Tygart, the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, had remarked Justin Gatlin deserved a second chance after his drug ban. The USADA chief executive refused to read too much into reports that the use of steroids may have long-lasting benefits in an athlete’s body. He had remarked there is some recent science on the effect of steroids on mice, but there is no proof yet it translates to humans and went on to add that if somebody commits a violation, serves a ban and comes back to the sport, part of the rule is this idea of redemption.

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