The unfolding scandal over Russian doping in athletics could send sponsors running for cover. Ciara Lee asks what the sport needs to do to restore the confidence of brands and retain the support of the big backers including Nike and Adidas.
With several major brands still dealing with the fall-out from the corruption scandal engulfing world soccer's FIFA... The recommendation from the World Anti-Doping Agency that Russia be banned from competitions for doping offences could send backers running faster than a 100 metre sprint. Sponsorship consultant Nigel Currie. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPONSORSHIP CONSULTANT, NIGEL CURRIE, SAYING: "In football, it's all been behind the scenes. It has been the politics, it has been the administrators. That is where the trouble has been. And that largely can be ignored by the fans. I think what has happened in athletics is very damaging and actually questions the integrity of the competition." Nike is listed as an official partner on the Russian Athletic Federation's website. And Adidas sponsors the International Association of Athletics Federations, along with a host of national teams. No comment so far from either. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPONSORSHIP CONSULTANT, NIGEL CURRIE, SAYING: "I think what we have seen with the banking crisis and other crises that have affected different companies and brands, every company and brand is now absolutely paranoid about protecting their image." Experts say more than 90 percent of the 5 billion dollars of revenue for the 2012 Olympic Games came from broadcast rights and commercial sponsorship. Officials are now facing some difficult questions. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPONSORSHIP CONSULTANT, NIGEL CURRIE, SAYING: "The Olympics have survived before with boycotts but we are in the modern world and people want to see all the top athletes and all the top countries competing." It could be a double whammy for Coca-Cola and Visa - they both sponsor the World Cup and the Olympics. And there are warnings the scandal might not stop at Russia.