The new Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) leadership looks set to play hardball with the association’s technical sponsor, Nike over the running contract.
Information reaching WeekendSport indicates that the association is irked by the fact that they are forced to jump hurdles for attire in certain competitions, despite Nike being the technical sponsor. Nike only covers a number of specified tournaments. The newly appointed administration which came into office early this year only got to learn about the nitty-gritties of the deal recently and strongly believe they need to go back to the boardroom with Nike to amend the contract. Their main contention is that Nike appears to have dictated terms in the previous talks, but at the detriment of the code.
The association has been struggling to solicit a technical sponsor ever since 2012 after they parted ways with Puma, and Nike arrived on the scene at a time the association was desperate for new partners. The agreement with Nike was penned on January 1st 2016 and will last until 2020. At the time of the deal BAA president was Moses Bantsi and secretary general was Legojane Kebaitse. However BAA is hopeful those terms of the agreement will be changed soon.
At the top of BAA’s worries is the choice by Nike to sponsor only selected competitions. The company has agreed to only provide attire for the World Championships and Olympic games. The association wants them to broaden the scope and sponsor other international events like the World Relays, World Youth Championships, Africa Competitions and Commonwealth sanctioned Games. The athletics association had to run helter-skelter in preparation for the World Youth Championships in Kenya early this month.
Desperate as they were, they had to acquire a running kit from a local outlet for such a huge event. “What they want is for the company to sponsor all the world events equally. They can understand if they (Nike) don’t support the regional events because maybe they don’t hold much weight but other competitions like world relays, youth champs and Africa champs are big competitions which will also see them reaping fruits,” a source revealed. The situation is further festered by the fact that local athletes, particularly the track runners are doing well, there could be potential companies who can partner with them and hence are ready to terminate the contract, should renegotiation fail.
“True we have voiced that and the president and secretary general will reiterate that when they meet with Nike officials at the World Champs in London. But they have verbally listened to our gripes and everything is ironed out now,” association’s mouthpiece Ipolokeng Ramatshaba. Through the agreement, athletes are given a Singlet/ airborne travel bag with 1/2 tight or short, full tight, short sleeved top, long sleeved top, rain suit, back pack, spikes, training shoes. At the time of going to print, the kit to be used at the IAAF World Championships had not arrived yet, with athletes having gotten only a hospital kit. “Even the kits that we have now are a big size to junior athletes it can only fit senior ones,” Ramatshaba added.
Sources say the association is satisfied with the monetary benefits from Nike.According to the deal should one of the local athletes scoop a gold medal at the Olympics or World Championships, the federation would pocket US$15 000 (over P162 000) for a Nike sponsored athlete while the association would get US$8 000 (over P86 000) for non-Nike sponsored athletes. For a silver medal, the association would receive US$10 000 (over P100 000) for a Nike sponsored athlete and US$6 000 (over P65 000) for non-Nike sponsored athlete. For a bronze medal, the association will get US$5 000 (over P54 000) for a Nike sponsored athletes and US$3 000 (over P30 000) for non-Nike sponsored athletes.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.