Nike said it ended its partnership with Neymar last year because it refused to cooperate with an investigation into the sexual assault allegations made against him by an employee of the sportswear manufacturer.
The Brazil international, who became the world’s most expensive player when he signed for Paris Saint-Germain for € 222m in 2017, denies the allegations, his spokesperson said.
Nike, the world’s largest sportswear manufacturer, had previously given no reason to end its deal with Neymar.
He had signed with the company for 15 years.
In a statement, Nike said it viewed the allegations of an incident in 2016 as “credible,” but also said an investigation it had commissioned was inconclusive.
“No single set of facts has emerged that would allow us to speak substantively on the issue,” Nike said.
“It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts.
“Nike ended his relationship with the athlete because he refused to cooperate with a good faith investigation into credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee.”
Neymar’s spokeswoman said the 29-year-old will vigorously defend himself against any claims, calling the allegations baseless and adding that the endorsement deal has ended for commercial reasons.
“It is very strange that a case that should have happened in 2016, with allegations from a Nike employee, did not come to light until then,” his statement said.
The statements came after a the Wall Street newspaper report to the investigation.
Nike said an employee officially reported the incident to the company in 2018, although at the time she respected her right to keep the matter confidential and did not investigate until she expressed interest in 2019 to legally pursue the case.
Neymar signed with rival sportswear company Puma in September.
Puma declined to comment.
Neymar was separately charged with rape in a Paris hotel in 2019, which he denied.
The player said the meeting with the woman, a Brazilian model, was consensual and accused her of trying to extort him.
Brazilian authorities dropped the investigation citing lack of evidence and then accused the model of slander, extortion and fraud.
The slander and extortion charges were later dropped and she was acquitted of the fraud charge last year.