Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Sports Direct loses Court of Appeal bid over Newcastle United kit deal

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Sports Direct has lost a Court of Appeal bid over Newcastle United’s exclusive football kit supply deal with rival retailer JD Sports.

The retailer, run by former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, had asked for a temporary court order forcing the club to supply it with replica kit for the 2024/25 Premier League season.

Last month, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) unanimously rejected the company’s request, concluding that it had “no reasonable or legitimate expectation” of continued supply from outgoing manufacturer Castore.

It said a suggestion that new kit maker Adidas and the club were obliged to continue provision would be “a significant fetter on competition”.

Mike Ashley owned Newcastle United between 2007 and 2021 (PA)

But in a ruling on Friday, three judges dismissed the retailer’s request.

Sir Geoffrey Vos, sitting with Sir Julian Flaux and Lady Justice Andrews, said that while the CAT was wrong to find there was no serious case to be tried, it made the right decision in not granting the injunction.

Sir Geoffrey said: “The tribunal was right to think that, though damages would not be an adequate remedy for either side, the balance of convenience favoured refusing interim relief and ordering a speedy trial.”

He added: “The trial will no doubt be hard fought, but the damage to Newcastle United will be far more fundamental if the injunction is wrongly granted than the damage that will be done to Sports Direct if it misses one, or even two, seasons’ supply.”

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