Thursday , November 7 2019

Liverpool commercial chief admits he did NOT read full Nike contract as club battle with New Balance

Liverpool commercial chief admits he DIDN’T read full Nike contract as club battle with current suppliers New Balance in court over attempt to switch to sportswear giant

  • Liverpool are currently locked in a legal battle with kit suppliers New Balance
  • Reds have agreed new big-money sponsorship deal with Nike but New Balance claim they have a clause to continue their own deal if they can match it
  • Liverpool’s commercial chief admits he did not read full contract Nike sent over
  • There were also questions over the credibility of New Balance’s projection of being able to stock kit in 6,000 retail outlets around the world

Liverpool’s commercial chief has admitted in court he did not read the full kit sponsorship contract that Nike were offering, which is central to the ongoing legal dispute with current sponsor New Balance.

Billy Hogan, the club’s chief commercial officer, said he could not answer questions on whether Nike’s distribution obligation would drop off if Liverpool did not qualify for the Champions League because he had not gone through the ‘long-form contract’.

Daniel Oudkerk QC, representing Boston-based sportswear company New Balance, said: ‘If the first teams fails for any reason to compete in the group stages of the Champions League, there are various reductions to their contract and to the obligations. 

Liverpool’s commercial chief Billy Hogan has admitted he didn’t read the full Nike contract

Liverpool and kit supplier New Balance are in Commercial Court over a contractual dispute

Liverpool and kit supplier New Balance are in Commercial Court over a contractual dispute 

‘If that’s right that would be very material to you wouldn’t it, as commercial director you would want to know whether there were financial consequences for not being in the Champions League?’

Mr Hogan said he had not seen this element of the contract.

Mr Oudkerk referred to an email sent to Jonathan Bamber, Liverpool FC general counsel, including a longer form contract for the club to review and said: ‘You have just told us you have never looked at the longer form contract, did you not look at the attachment to this email?’

New Balance have been selling Liverpool's kit since 2011, shortly before it started supplying the Merseyside team's strip under Warrior branding from the 2012-13 campaign

New Balance have been selling Liverpool’s kit since 2011, shortly before it started supplying the Merseyside team’s strip under Warrior branding from the 2012-13 campaign

Mr Hogan responded: ‘I did not.’

On the second day of the case – which revolves around a five-year sponsorship deal from next season onwards – there were also questions over the credibility of New Balance’s projection of being able to stock kit in 6,000 retail outlets.

New Balance’s general manager for global football Kenny McCallum was quizzed on the inclusion of Ecuador and Serbia stores in the figures, despite there being ‘zero sales’ there.

On the second day of the case there were also questions over the credibility of New Balance's projection of being able to match Nike and stock kit in 6,000 retail outlets

On the second day of the case there were also questions over the credibility of New Balance’s projection of being able to match Nike and stock kit in 6,000 retail outlets

On the Ecuador stores, Guy Morpuss QC – representing Liverpool – said: ‘These doors in Ecuador are a myth, nothing will be sold in them’.

Mr McCallum responded: ‘That appears to be so’ but Mr Justice Teare suggested that the stores themselves were not fictitious, but that it may not be wise to stock kit there.

On the Serbia stores, Mr Morpuss QC said: ‘It must be the case that those doors should not have been included’, to which Mr McCallum responded: ‘Potentially yes…. in future sales if we were contractually obliged then we would audit these differently.’