Liverpool could be facing a series of complex negotiations and potential legal battles with sponsors over bonus payments and kit deals worth millions of pounds due to the prospect of this season carrying on into the summer claims a report.
The Daily Mail write that they have been told that agreements between clubs and their kit suppliers and commercial partners do not contain clauses enabling either party to unilaterally extend or cancel and that leaves negotiated settlements or court cases as the only way to resolve disputes if the campaign continues beyond the term of the existing contracts, as appears increasingly likely.
Like so many aspects of daily life, the current coronavirus pandemic has brought football to a halt and with no prospect of a return to action until the end of April at the earliest, fixtures are set to run into the summer at least as clubs – including Liverpool who are on the brink of their first League Championship for 30 years – attempt to bring the 2019/20 season to a satisfactory conclusion.
Liverpool, Newcastle United and Watford are all coming towards the end of existing kit deals with New Balance, Puma and Liverpool’s impending move from New Balance to a new £70m-a-year deal with Nike is by far the most significant and valuable. The former contract expires on May 31, by which time the Premier League season is unlikely to have been completed.
Liverpool’s relationship with New Balance has already been tested by an acrimonious legal battle, with the club winning a High Court case last October which enabled them to switch to Nike on the basis that the latter’s greater marketing budget made it a more attractive deal with global superstars like LeBron James and Serena Williams cited.
As Liverpool’s kit suppliers for the 2019/20 season, New Balance could benefit greatly from the value of having the iconic pictures of Jordan Henderson and his team-mates celebrating the Reds first Premier League title but in contractual terms, Jurgen Klopp’s players should be wearing Nike shirts from June onwards.
Sportsmail say they have learned that Nike’s global contracts are signed in Amsterdam for tax reasons and the company’s intellectual property rights and logo are registered in Holland and therefore subject to Dutch law so a negotiated settlement between Liverpool, New Balance and Nike appears the best way out of the impasse, although any of the parties could take their claim to court if they are not satisfied with the outcome.