Russia's second-largest bank VTB announced today it would not renew its sponsorship contract with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) but insisted the decision has nothing to do with the current doping scandal its athletes are at the centre of.
The All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) is facing the threat of suspension after a World Anti-Doping Agency Independent Commission found evidence of "state-supported" doping and recommended that they be banned.
The report also evidence of IAAF President Lamine Diack being involved in a scheme to bribe Russian athletes to help them cover-up positive drugs tests.
VTB, however, claim they have simply decided not to renew their sponsorship agreement at the end of the year after its most recent deal included the the last two editions of the IAAF World Championships, including Moscow in 2013.
VTB was the first Russian company to sign a sponsorship contract with the IAAF when an original five-year deal from 2007 to 2011 was agreed in 2006.
The bank is currently listed as one of seven top tier IAAF sponsors along with Adidas, Canon, Seiko, Sinopec, TDK and Toyota.
"It [the contract] has expired," VTB first deputy president Vasily Titov told RIA Novosti state news agency.
"We did not plan to renew it.
"No, this has nothing to do with the doping scandal in any way."
The IAAF confirmed that VTB was ending their association with the sport in a short statement.
“VTB has expressed no interest to extend its present contract, the last event of which was the IAAF World Championships in Beijing," the statement said.
"The contract will come to a natural end in 2015.”
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