Adidas, the IAAF’s biggest sponsor, has told athletics’ world governing body it is to terminate their sponsorship deal four years early, the BBC has learned.
The sportswear giant informed the IAAF of its decision – understood to be a direct result of the doping scandal sweeping the sport – earlier this week.
Sources have told the BBC the move will result in tens of millions of dollars in lost income to the IAAF.
And it is sure to come as a major blow for embattled president Lord Coe.
Neither Adidas nor the IAAF have made any comment.
The BBC understands Adidas informed the IAAF in November it was considering ending their relationship early as a result of the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) Independent Commission’s first report, which detailed claims of “state sponsored doping” within Russia.
Earlier this month, the commission’s chairman, Dick Pound, delivered a second, damning report, which revealed that “corruption was embedded” within the IAAF under former president Lamine Diack.
Within days, a decision at the highest level in Adidas was taken to terminate the relationship.
It is understood the German multinational believes the doping revelations in Pound’s reports constitute a breach of its agreement with the IAAF.
The 11-year sponsorship deal was signed in 2008 and was due to run until 2019. At the time of signing, it was reported the deal would be worth about $33m (£23m).
But sources have told the BBC the figure is much higher, and that in terms of cash and product, it is worth about $8m (£5.6m) per year. This would mean the projected lost revenue for the IAAF over the next four years will be more than $30m (£21m).