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Umbro Distributor Seeking Legal Advice over Ireland Contract Termination

JACC Sports, the distributors of Umbro in Ireland, are seeking legal advice after the Football Association of Ireland terminated their contract with them which had four years left to run.

JACC Sports to Take Legal Action Against FAI

The FAI announced yesterday that they are ending their long-running partnership with JACC Sports, the distributors of Umbro, New Balance and several other brands in Ireland. The announcement was abrupt and unexpected, as they partnership had been in place for 28 years and was due to continue until 2026. The full statement is below.

The Irish Times report that JACC owner, Jonathan Courtenay, responded to an FAI email on Monday morning by telling them that the company reject “any purported effort by the association to terminate the agreement”. The following statement was also made public.

“We find it highly irregular and unwarranted in terms of any working, that the association’s longest standing, most loyal sponsor, and the sponsor which has contributed more financially than any other sponsor to the association would be treated this way. We are taking legal advice and will not be making any further comment at this time.” - JACC Sports.

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny with Jonathan Courtenay, head of JACC Sports.

The FAI was plagued by mismanagement, financial scandals and horrendous decision-making during the 15 year reign of chief executive John Delaney from 2004 to 2019, with Delaney and the FAI currently under investigation for a host of irregular financial activity. The FAI will presumably have carefully checked that they were within their rights to cancel the JACC contract, as they could do without further woes and damage to their reputation.

Former FAI chief exec John Delaney pictured with former Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy.

The reaction of JACC suggests that they believe they were wronged by the FAI, and after a successful 28 year partnership without any problems, from the outside it does look like something of an unfair move by the FAI. It will be very interesting to see what JACC's legal representatives advise them to do. We will update this story as it develops.

Do you think the FAI were wrong to cancel the deal without any explanation? Comment below.