A criminal investigation is looking into the financial relationship between USA Track & Field (USATF) and Nike.
According to a report from Runner’s World, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has requested financial documents from USATF, the governing body of professional running in the U.S., and three companies, including Nike, a corporate sponsor. Marketing firm Matchbook Creative, which had worked with Nike an USATF in the past, and commercial rights advisory firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures LLC, which lists USATF as a client, are also being asked to provide financial details for the investigation.
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In a statement to FN, Nike said it believes in “compliance with laws and fair play in all sports and would be committed to cooperating with any government investigation into this matter.”
The grand jury subpoena also reportedly asked for details regarding the business dealings of USATF CEO Max Siegel.
“USATF is not able to confirm the existence of any investigation,” USATF told Runner’s World in a statement. “However, the Organization stands ready to fully and transparently cooperate with any government inquiry. We are committed to our mission to drive competitive excellence and popular engagement in the sport.”
USATF is a longtime Nike partner. The two bodies signed a deal in April 2014 that would extend their partnership from 2017 to 2040. While the value was never disclosed, reports estimated the deal to be worth at least $400 million. Bevilacqua Helfant reportedly negotiated the deal.
When the deal was inked, Siegel said in a statement, “This new deal is a game-changer for the sport and what USATF will be able to offer all of our constituents. In working together with Nike, we placed an emphasis on growth as well as scope, so we can broaden the level and breadth of support for all USATF programs. Nike’s support for USA Track & Field and the sport as a whole is unmatched, and we look forward to this new era of collaboration.”
FN has reached out to Bevilacqua Helfant and USATF for comment. Matchbook Creative could not be reached for comment.
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