Berlin: A "credible" claim of sexual assault, and Neymar's refusal to comply with an internal investigation in to it, is the reason why the Paris-Saint-Germain forward broke ties with Nike, say the sports manufacturer.
The split between Neymar and Nike happened last year, but the company responded on Thursday to a story in the Wall Street Journal concerning the assault claims and referenced its own internal investigation in to the 2016 incident.
"No single set of facts emerged that would enable us to speak substantively on the matter. It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts," the statement said.
Neymar's spokeswoman said the athlete would vigorously defend himself if any claim is presented, describing the allegations as baseless and adding that the endorsement deal ended for commercial reasons.
"It is very strange a case that was supposed to have happened in 2016, with allegations by a Nike employee, come to light only at that moment," her statement said.
Nike said the employee made the allegations in 2018 and that it respected her wishes to keep the matter confidential and did not investigate until she expressed an interest, in 2019, in legally pursuing the matter.
Neymar was separately accused of rape in a Paris hotel in June 2019, though charges were later dropped by Brazilian authorities.