August 9, 2007 – T-Mobile will continue Deutsche Telekom’s 16-year commitment to the sport of cycling. This decision was made by the Bonn telecommunications group on Tuesday evening. This was preceded by open and intensive talks after the latest doping cases in the sport of cycling. “We want to prove a point through consistency and stability which this sport is in great need of,” said Hamid Akhavan, Chairman of the Board of T-Mobile International and Board Member of Deutsche Telekom AG. “We want to continue our involvement in cycling and support it in its effort to become a cleaner sport,” added Akhavan.
T-Mobile made a decision about one year ago to take a new route with team manager Bob Stapleton and his team. Underpinning this was the commitment to a cleaner sport and tangible action to shape positive change. This included an early extension of the sponsoring agreement by two years until December 31, 2010. Despite the latest doping scandals, which also included the T-Mobile Team, this promise will be kept, said Akhavan. The decision was given serious thought. “After intensive internal talks, but also after discussions with key representatives from the world of politics, media and sport, we decided to face the challenges and not to give in to the current problems. We knew that the chosen route would be difficult,” says Akhavan.
Deutsche Telekom AG will continue to promote clean sport, with cycling playing an especially important role in this drive. The Board believes in the program put in place by Bob Stapleton and his management team. “Otherwise the endeavours of the recent past would have been pointless.”
In order to help professional cycling, alliances are as equally important as clear rules and regulations. Deutsche Telekom AG has linked its further commitment to them. The fight against doping has reached new, unprecedented levels over the past months. But this effort needs to be further internationalized and coordinated more strongly to the benefit of the sport. These cooperations and ideas then need to be encouraged and developed over time. The talks therefore focused on how the struggle for a fair sport and, in particular, clean cycling can be organized in the future. Akhavan stressed that one must be aware that there “can be no guarantees” and also warned against rash reactions.
The following agreements were made between the team and the sponsor:
– For the first time in the history of the sport, the athletes and team management will make a personal financial contribution to tackle doping. Cyclists and management in the T-Mobile Team will contribute a certain percentage of their salary. T-Mobile International will then top up this total to one million euros and make it available for the fight against doping.
– The team will directly support expanded testing and better test methods, as has been done with both DNA and Blood Volume testing in 2007. To this end, the team management will meet with the responsible organizations, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency and the National Anti-Doping Agency, and other independent testing agencies.
– Deutsche Telekom AG reserves the right to immediately terminate the commitment in the event of further doping cases.
The company hereby stresses that it is a reliable partner in the event of a crisis, but that the athletes bear a great deal of the responsibility for the future of the sport themselves. Furthermore T-Mobile calls on other sponsors to take responsibility also for the purpose of young athletes and mass sports. T-Mobile will invite other sponsors and teams, to discuss the course of action.