C4 athletics event sparks legal threat

The British Athletics Federation (BAF) is threatening to sue the Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) if it stages a televised meeting in Britain because it claims that it clashes with its multimillion pound sponsorship agreement with Channel 4.

BAF was formed in 1991 and handles professional athletics. It recently signed a four-year deal with Channel 4, worth 4m, to cover all major athletics meetings in Britain.

Barry Snellgrove, BAF commercial director, says: “If a major event is run in Britain outside our control it would contravene our deal with C4 and we will take legal action.”

But the AAA says that BAF, which owns the major meetings in the UK, is not promoting the sport adequately. The AAA says it will run its championships in Birmingham over August 24-25 and is currently seeking to sell the TV rights.

AAA honorary treasurer Geoff Clarke says: “We are not afraid of threats to sue.”

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