Liverpool win legal battle over New Balance deal" width="976" height="549">
New Balance has been Liverpool's official kit supplier since 2015
Liverpool FC have won a legal battle over a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal with the US company New Balance.The European champions were taken to court over their alleged refusal to honour a reported
Nike said sports stars like Serena Williams could promote Liverpool products
Giving his ruling in London, Mr Justice Teare ruled in Liverpool's favour, finding that "the New Balance offer on marketing was less favourable to Liverpool FC than the Nike offer".
The judge said Nike's offer to use "global superstar athletes", such as tennis player Serena Williams and basketball star Lebron James, to promote Liverpool products could not be matched by New Balance.New Balance has been Liverpool's official kit supplier since the 2015-16 season. The sportswear firm said at the time that it was "an important step for... launching into football and reflects the global growth ambitions of the brand".
'Fanciful' claim
Opening New Balance's case last week, Daniel Oudkerk QC said the key issue was whether New Balance had matched "the material, measurable and matchable terms of a third-party offer".Liverpool argued New Balance had not matched Nike's offer, which includes a commitment to sell licensed products in at least "6,000 stores worldwide, 500 of which shall be Nike-owned".But Mr Oudkerk said New Balance has "approximately 40,000-odd retail doors globally".He argued that Liverpool dismissed New Balance's offer to match terms as the club was "wedded to Nike", and that "it appears that the club had resolved to reject the New Balance match come what may".
New Balance was responsible for designing Liverpool's strips and training kit
Guy Morpuss QC, representing the Premier League club, said New Balance's claim it could distribute the club's kit to 40,000 stores was "a myth", adding the company had "grossly overstated" the number of stores to which it could distribute."The idea that New Balance would even get football kit into anything close to those 40,000 stores is utterly fanciful," he added.In his ruling, Mr Justice Teare said: "Liverpool FC is not obliged to enter into a new agreement with New Balance."A Liverpool spokesperson said the club was pleased with the judge's decision."We will continue with New Balance for the current season, in combination with preparing next season's Liverpool kits with our new supplier."
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