Liverpool Had Talks With Puma, Nike 20-21 Kits "Ready", 21-22 Kits Almost Finished - New Balance vs Liverpool Kit Day Two Trial Updates

Monday, 21 October 2019
The court trial between New Balance and Liverpool continued at the High Court in London today. In the second hearing day of the three-day trial new details about Liverpool's kit deal process got revealed.

The Reds and current kit suppliers New Balance are battling it out in court over the future of their partnership. New Balance insist they can "match" a rival deal that is on the table from Nike, satisfying a clause in their existing contract that would allow them to extend terms.

Liverpool have held kit deal "conversations" with Puma, a High Court trial was told. Liverpool managing director and chief commercial officer Billy Hogan was called to the stand to give evidence this morning, and when it was put to him that emails suggested the club had also been in conversations with Puma, he agreed.

Liverpool have decided Nike is their preferred option to take forward the supply of kits, with the club having sketched out a five-year contract starting for the 2020/21 campaign. The trial has already heard that Liverpool have agreed on a design for next year's shirt with Oregon-based giants Nike, with plans for the 2021/22 season almost finalised too.

It was also revealed that Nike have spent around £6million on fabric for the potential new kit and have received pre-orders from around 8,000 stores. They have factory space for 2.9m units reserved and training designs also in place.

Mr Daniel Oudkerk QC, for New Balance, suggested to Mr Hogan today: "New Balance has benefited from its relationship with Liverpool under the sponsorship from Liverpool….and Liverpool has benefited from the investment from New Balance.”

Mr Hogan replied: "From its investment, yes". Mr Oudkerk discussed the contents of an email from Nike which suggested the company is currently preparing for capacity of 2.9million units - the same as New Balance.

Mr Oudkerk presented another set of emails on the terms of the Nike offer, and 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. “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, Liverpool commercial chief, said he had not seen this element of the contract. Mr Oudkerk said that clause with Nike means there is no distribution obligation at all if Liverpool fail to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, but Mr Hogan said that had not been discussed.

The email included a longer form contract for the club to review - Mr Hogan said he had not looked at it...

The trial is scheduled for a final day tomorrow.

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