TAG Heuer ends part­ner­ship with Maria Shara­pova

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Rus­sian Sports Min­is­ter Vi­taly Mutko may have this morn­ing ad­mit­ted that Rus­sia needs to get to grips with its dop­ing prob­lem, but their ten­nis chief, Shamil Tarpishchev, ap­pears to have awo­ken in a rather more de­fi­ant mood.

He has said that, de­spite the loom­ing threat of an ITF ban, he ex­pects Shara­pova to com­pete at this sum­mer's Olympics in Rio, be­fore go­ing on to de­scribe her failed test as "a load of non­sense".

The head hon­cho pre­vi­ously landed him­self in hot wa­ter back in 2014, when Serena Wil­liams - Shara­pova's prin­ci­pal WTA ri­val - slammed him for us­ing "ex­tremely sex­ist, racist and bul­ly­ing" lan­guage, af­ter he de­scribed her and sis­ter Venus as the "Wil­liams brothers".

The WTA took swift ac­tion, fin­ing Tarpishchev $25,000 and dis­qual­i­fy­ing him from work­ing in an or­gan­i­sa­tional ca­pac­ity for a year.

Nike and TAG Heuer have been quick to make state­ments about the Shara­pova case but if her cor­po­rate deals fall through as a re­sult of her pos­i­tive drugs test she could lose most of her sources of in­come. Shara­pova earned £16.1m last year in en­dorse­ments alone. Her earn­ings from tour­na­ments amounted to a mere £4.7m in 2014 - and that was in­clud­ing her last slam win at Roland Gar­ros the same year. Shara­pova's eight-year deal with Nike is worth £49m while she also has a five-year con­tract with Evian and a three-year deal with Porsche. The Rus­sian also has her own sweets brand 'Su­gar­pova'.

Rus­sian Sports Min­is­ter Vi­taly Mutko has said the coun­try needs three to four years to re­store or­der to its sports anti-dop­ing regime, and that tough mea­sures will be taken over dop­ing.

"We need three or four years, we are only now be­gin­ning to re­store or­der," Mutko said.

He said that tough mea­sures will be taken over dop­ing and a num­ber of sports fed­er­a­tions will be af­fected.

Com­ment­ing on the case of Maria Shara­pova, Mutko would only say: "I think Masha will sort it out her­self."

"Maria Shara­pova was un­der con- tract with TAG Heuer un­til De­cem­ber 31, 2015. We had been in talks to ex­tend our col­lab­o­ra­tion. In view of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, the Swiss watch brand has sus­pended ne­go­ti­a­tions and has de­cided not to re­new the con­tract," the com­pany said in a state­ment.

Al­though Shara­pova said she took it for health rea­sons, and not as a per­for­mance en­hancer, she be­came the most high-pro­file ath­lete to test pos­i­tive for the drug used to treat is­chemia, a lack of blood flow to parts of the body.

The drug is man­u­fac­tured in Latvia and pre­scribed to treat heart dis­ease, al­though it is not ap­proved by US reg­u­la­tors.

The in­crease in blood flow it pro­duces could im­prove en­durance and re­cov­ery time af­ter ex­er­cise and WADA moved it from the "mon­i­tored" to the "pro­hib­ited" drugs list "be­cause of ev­i­dence of its use by ath­letes with the in­ten­tion of en­hanc­ing per­for­mance," the anti-dop­ing body said in a state­ment. The ban ap­proved last Septem­ber came into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.