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Mike Ashley seeks injunction against Newcastle United over replica kit deal

By Rachel Douglass


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Newcastle United Football Club. Credits: NUFC.

Frasers Group owner Mike Ashley is seeking an injunction against Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC) regarding a disagreement over the distribution of the club’s replica kits.

Ashley, through his group’s portfolio company Sports Direct, has filed the claim to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, in which he alleged that the club had “abused its dominant position in the market” by refusing to allow the sportswear retailer to sell replica shirts.

According to the claim, NUFC granted rival JD Sports the exclusive rights to sell the replica kit alongside the channels of the club and Adidas, the club’s official kit partner for the 2024/25 season. As such, Ashley believes that NUFC is in breach of competition rules.

The production and distribution of replica kits for NUFC had only previously been licensed to the club’s former partner Castore, which had supplied Sports Direct with such products.

However, NUFC ultimately terminated its contract with Castore and initiated a new deal with Adidas in September last year, an agreement that gave the sportswear giant certain distribution and retail rights but maintained the right to direct wholesale distribution in the UK exclusively to the club.

In the claim, Sports Direct said it was seeking an injunction to restrain the alleged breaches and is also requesting for unspecified damages and other relief as a result.

While a hearing is expected to take place in April to address the allegations, the club has until March 28 to respond.

Frasers Group
JD Sports
Mike Ashley
Sports Direct