ADIDAS set to back Woodward

Adidas being lined up to back £15 million Woodward scheme
Date: 09/11/2008

NOVEMBER 9 - ADIDAS are set to become the first major company to help fund Sir Clive Woodward’s (pictured) ambitious £15 million Olympic coaching academy, insidethegames can exclusively reveal.

The company, who are a long-time backer of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and were among the first to sign up as a Tier-One London 2012 sponsor, have been in negotiations for several months about helping support the scheme.

Under the plan drawn up by Sir Clive, who guided England’s rugby team to World Cup victory in 2003 but is now the £300,000 per year director of elite performance at the BOA, up to 15 coaches would be given intensive support and finance in an attempt to ensure more gold medals in 2012.

Woodward has been given the go-ahead by the BOA’s ruling Executive Board to pursue his plans subject to a number of conditions.

One of these is to obtain the approval of the London organising committee, and Woodward is due to report back to the Board before Christmas.

Having the backing of one of London’s biggest sponsors who see it as an ideal way of activating their sponsorship and helping them obtain additional benefit from the £100 million they are due to pump into backing 2012 would help convince London officials to rubber-stamp Sir Clive’s scheme.

His academy, which has also received backing from UK Sport’s Mission 2012 programme, would identify coaches of potential gold medallists who are in need of support and help them emulate best-practice from across the world.

Sir Clive has been told by the cash-strapped BOA that he must find a backer by the end of the year if the plan is to continue otherwise it will be shelved.

None of the major medal-winning sports, such as cycling, sailing and rowing, have so far shown any interest in getting involved in the academy while athletics’ new head coach Charles van Commenee is also understood to be lukewarm about the scheme.