Sunday Dare: Sports Minister’s inferiority issue has cost Nigeria a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with Puma ENigeria Newspaper reports.
The news that PUMA, the German sportswear giant, has ended its four-year deal with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria – AFN has become a hot subject among Nigerians.
The AFN, led by Ibrahim Gusau, signed a contentious $2.76 million deal with Puma on July 24, 2019, in Doha.
According to ENigeria, the pact inked by the Gusau-led AFN and set to expire in 2022 caused a serious issue that separated the sports body into two parts.
Under the terms of the agreement, PUMA will provide Nigeria’s Athletics team with free gear for all age groups for the next four years.
Additionally, gold medalists at the Olympic Games will receive $15,000, silver medalists will receive 5,000, and bronze medalists will receive $3,000 for wearing PUMA attire at the games.
PUMA, on the other hand, terminated the contract in a letter signed by the company’s director Manuel Edlheimb on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.
The contract was terminated due to Nigerian competitors’ inability to wear the brand at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics, according to PUMA.
There were initial reports that Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youths and Sports, had protested to Puma’s offer to Team Nigerian athletes, and that the agreement was being investigated criminally.
“We are referring to the licensing and sponsoring deal negotiated between our company and your federation,” PUMA stated in the notice of termination of Sponsoring and Licensing Agreement. We now terminate the Agreement with immediate effect as a direct result of recent developments, particularly at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020, and in accordance with articles 9.2 and 7.3 of the Agreement.
“PUMA expressly proclaims that it is free of any and all obligations to all parties involved, and that it reserves all rights against these businesses and individuals.”
ENigeria could not confirm if damages will be paid or if kits already delivered to the AFN would be returned at the time of reporting this story.
Several attempts were made to provide the athletes with PUMA kits, including delivering bags of kits with 40 items each to Tokyo via the Nigerian Embassy in Japan, but none were successful.
…Sunday Dare’s role in the termination
Sunday Dare’s viewpoint, as indicated previously in this report by the Minister of Youths and Sports, resulted in the AFN deal with Puma being terminated.
According to sources, Dare is attempting to gain control of the AFN by funding a rival faction.
In a previous development, the Ministry of Sports headed by Sunday, Dare had previously petitioned the Department of State Security – DSS in 2020 over the Puma contract with AFN, but after a thorough investigation, the DSS stated in a statement signed on behalf of the Director General of the DSS that the following had been established:
“The Nigerian Athletics Federation has signed a contract with Dynamic Sports Solution Nigeria Limited.
In a letter dated September 4, 2018, signed by Ademu A. Elijah, Secretary General of the AFN, the AFN mandated Dynamic Sports Solution Nigeria Limited to source sponsors for Nigeria’s track and field teams on her behalf.
“The AFN duly authorized Dynamic Sports Solution Nigeria Limited to deal with Puma on behalf of the federation in a letter dated June 23, 2019, signed by Patrick Estate, Head Marketing; and there is no evidence that Dynamic Sports Solution Nigeria Limited received money meant for AFN from Puma.
“In light of this, it is underlined that the FMYSD and the AFN board should resolve their lingering issue through internal mechanisms.”
The DSS’s certification also absolved the Alhaji Shehu Gusau-led AFN of any criminal charges brought against it by the Sports Minister’s office.
Following the occurrence, ENigeria Newspaper understands that many AFN reconciliation efforts were thwarted by Sunday Dare, who rushed to the Supreme Court to contest an Appeal Court decision affirming Gusau as the AFN’s legitimate President.
Apart from the foregoing, the germane cause for Puma terminating its contract with AFN occurred immediately after a video of Nigeria’s short shot medal prospect, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, cleaning his jersey in preparation for the final game at the present Tokyo Olympics 2020 was leaked.
The athlete was given one jersey for the competition, according to the caption in the video.
He wrote, “When you make the Olympic Finals but only have one jersey.”
ENigeria learns that Puma regarded this international humiliation given how much the firm had invested in the competitors’ gear prior to the start of the competition.