New Balance to take Liverpool to court in kit deal row

New Balance to take Liverpool to court in kit deal row
New Balance, the technical partner of English soccer giants Liverpool, has submitted a legal filing in the UK’s High Court to retain its lucrative contract with the Premier League club.

According to a report by the Athletic, Nike was set to be announced as the club’s new kit partner from the start of next season by the end of September. Liverpool have reportedly agreed a UK£70 million (US$87 million) a year deal with the sportswear giant, a UK£25 million (US$31 million) a year increase on their current arrangement with New Balance.

New Balance, according to the Athletic, remains adamant that a clause in its current deal means it has the right to match Nike’s offer and earn a contract extension with the club beyond May 2020, whilst Liverpool insist otherwise.

A Liverpool spokesman told the Athletic: “We can confirm that our kit supplier, New Balance, has commenced a legal dispute against the club. We will not be making any further comment during these legal proceedings.”

New Balance was apparently set to dip out of the race to take on Liverpool’s technical contract, having been priced out. However, the Boston-based company is now keen to keep the biggest club in its sponsorship portfolio on board.

According to the Athletic, Liverpool told New Balance its offer cannot match Nike’s because of the latter’s global distribution network and greater presence in key markets.

New Balance issued a statement to the Athletic which read: ‘New Balance is proud to be the official kit sponsor of Liverpool Football Club. Since 2011, when we entered into a record breaking sponsorship with the club, we have delivered two of the biggest selling home kits for Liverpool fans and we continue to match the ambition and achievements of the club as it grows from strength to strength.

‘As a long standing and committed sponsor, we are keen to continue our strong partnership with Liverpool Football Club and renew our agreement in 2020. In line with our current contract, we have matched the offer made by Nike.

‘As part of the contract renewal process, LFC has called into question elements of the agreement and as such we are asking the courts for clarity on this case. Both we and the club are keen to resolve any contractual challenges as quickly as possible and have agreed to an expedited process in the courts.

‘New Balance is eager and confident to maintain its sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club and we look forward to continuing our record of success as LFC’s playing kit provider.’

As they wait for the legal dispute to be resolved, New Balance is reportedly preparing to retain its contract having already designed and created all three kits for the 2020/21 season.

Liverpool’s proposed new deal with Nike or New Balance would see them near Manchester United’s UK£75 million (US$93.2 million) per season contract with Adidas and move them ahead of the rest of the Premier League’s big six.

Currently, the most lucrative kit deal in soccer history belongs to Spanish giants Real Madrid, who are apparently set to earn a guaranteed €1.1 billion (US$1.2 billion) from Adidas after signing an extension until the end of the 2027/28 season.

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