Monte Carlo - Sebastian Coe said Thursday he will step down as ambassador for sports goods makers Nike because it harms the ruling athletics body IAAF he presides over since August.
Coe told a news conference after an IAAF council meeting that "I have stepped down from my ambassadorial role with Nike. The current noise level around this role is not good for the IAAF, and for Nike."
Coe has come under fire over the role over allegations of conflict of interest in connection with the awarding of the 2021 world championships to Eugene, Oregon, without a bidding process in April.
The BBC reported Wednesday it had uncovered emails which showed Coe, then an IAAF vice-president, backed Eugene and had spoken to his predecessor, Lamine Diack, about their bid. Eugene, which lost out to Doha in bidding for the 2019 event, is closely associated with Nike.
Coe denied he had specifically lobbied in favour of Eugene, merely that he had encouraged them to try again given their losing bid for 2019. He said he also encouraged Gothenburg, Sweden, to bid for 2021.
The Nike issue has been haunting Coe since he was elected at the IAAF congress in Beijing, questioned about it in his first news conference.
He denied a conflict of interest, has said frequently he has been open about it, and also said Thursday that the IAAF ethics committee has also not objected.