KP withdraw after summer of discontent

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The Independent Online

British athletics has lost the sponsor of its two biggest meetings, KP Foods, who have decided not to exercise an option to renew a two- year agreement worth around pounds 2m.

KP were unhappy with the controversy surrounding the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace and the AAA Championships in Birmingham this summer.

However Tony Ward, the British Athletic Federation's spokesman, said yesterday a deal with a replacement sponsor had been "signed and sealed".

"The new sponsors will match what KP did," Ward said. "These two are big money meetings and need a lot of promotion, especially this season."

Linford Christie, Colin Jackson and John Regis missed the Grand Prix this summer because of a pay dispute with the British Athletic Federation and the attendance was badly hit.

In Birmingham a week later Christie came under fire when he was allowed to run in the 100 metres final as a guest after failing to qualify; and Jackson upset officials after pulling out after one round of the 100m with a groin muscle injury, then winning a sprint hurdles race in Italy 24 hours later.