Sainsbury's cuts short British Athletics sponsor deal

Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill
Jessica Ennis-Hill is one of those to have benefitted from the Sainsbury's sponsorship deal
IAAF World Championships on the BBC
Venue: Bird's Nest Stadium, Beijing Dates: 22-30 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, Radio 5 live, online, mobiles, tablets and app

Sainsbury's has cut short its four-year deal to sponsor British Athletics, which had been due to run until 2017.

The multimillion-pound contract was agreed in 2013, but included a clause for a mid-point review which has allowed the supermarket chain to end the deal early.

The announcement comes days before the World Championships starts in Beijing.

The company said its decision had nothing to do with recent doping allegations within the sport.

It added that the move was part of a "strategic review" and that British Athletics was notified five months ago.

British Athletics was not available for comment.

In May the supermarket giant reported its first full-year loss for 10 years - £72m in the year to 14 March.

"Sainsbury's has been a proud supporter of British Athletics since 2013, following our sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympic Games," said a statement to Press Association Sport.

"We wish British Athletics all the best with their future events programme."

Sainsbury's has also backed three editions of the Anniversary Games and in 2014 agreed to put its name to all of British Athletics' major events.

The sport has been at the centre of a number of controversies with media revelations of alleged blood doping followed by the suspension of 28 athletes over historic doping offences.