Nike ends Livestrong Foundation partnership

Lance Armstrong in Wanze, Belgium in July 2010 Nike says it helped distribute 87 million yellow wristbands for the Livestrong Foundation

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Sportswear giant Nike is ceasing to make products for the Livestrong Foundation, the cancer charity founded by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

But Livestrong's largest corporate backer said it would continue funding the charity directly after this year.

The foundation said it expected the move after Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.

Last year, Armstrong stepped away from the foundation he created in 1997 after his diagnosis with testicular cancer.

"We are proud of the collective efforts between Nike and the Livestrong Foundation to raise more than $100m (£66m) to help people with cancer," Nike said in a statement, adding its "Holiday 2013" line of Livestrong products would be its last.

Nike added that it helped distribute 87 million signature yellow wristbands and improve health outcomes for more than 2.5 million people suffering from cancer.

Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane said the charity had expected the change.

"Could there be fallout? Of course," she told reporters. "We remain enormously confident. We are in strong fiscal shape."

In a statement, the foundation said it was grateful for Nike's nine years of support.

In January, Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, admitted after years of denial that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

He told US television personality Oprah Winfrey that stepping down as Livestrong's chairman was his "most humbling moment".

Nike ended its personal sponsorship of Armstrong in October, amid allegations he had used the drugs and encouraged his team-mates to participate in a doping programme.

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