It has just been announced that Deutsche Telekom is to end its sponsorship of the T-Mobile cycling team. The decision had been pending for several weeks after further doping revelations came to light.
The telecommunications company has released the following statement:
"We arrived at this decision to separate our brand from further exposure from doping in sport and cycling specifically. This was a difficult decision given our long history of support for professional cycling and the efforts of Bob Stapleton in managing the team in 2007", said Deutsche Telekom Board member and CEO of T-Mobile International Hamid Akhavan. ?We have an obligation to our employees, customers and shareholders to focus our attention and resources on our core businesses?, added Akhavan.
"We have worked very hard with the current team management to promote a clean cycling sport but we reached the decision to continue our efforts to rid all sports of doping by applying our resources in other directions. Deutsche Telekom AG wants to make it clear that this action is not based on any disagreement with or misconduct by team management?, Akhavan emphasized.
Nothing has changed in Deutsche Telekom's belief that sponsoring activities also entail taking responsibility. "We will continue to fulfill our obligations to the fight against doping, to which we contribute a significant amount of resources", declared Akhavan.
Bob Stapleton added, "We hope to go forward independently with the team to achieve our goals of continued competitive success and being a leader in anti-doping efforts in professional cycling."
Over the past few days the Group has been negotiating with Neuer Straßen Sport, the operator of the T-Mobile Team, for the termination of the contract that was set to run until December 31, 2010. Both parties have agreed to keep the details confidential.
T-MOBILE: A RECENT HISTORY
6/11/2007: Stapleton confident that T-Mobile will stay with team
9/10/2007: T-Mobile end season early
9/8/2007: T-Mobile confirm continuing sponsorship
31/7/2007: T-Mobile release Sinkewitz from contract
19/6/2007: T-Mobile release Honchar after doping tests
24/5/2007: Zabel and Aldag confess to doping
27/9/2006: T-Mobile reveal major changes for 2007 team
21/7/2006: T-Mobile sack Ullrich and Sevilla
Comment: The beginning of the end?
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Wiggins stunned by T-Mobile decision
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Giant stick with Team High Road
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