Conflict between Newcastle and Mike Ashley escalates! Ex-Magpies owner unable to prevent exclusive JD Sports deal for next year's shirts - possibility of Sports Direct boss taking legal action against the club.


Former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct have failed in a bid to sell the club’s shirts in their stores next season, according to a report.

The Magpies have agreed an exclusive deal with JD Sports that will see their jerseys sold in only their stores and the official club shop.

Ashley was in charge of Newcastle between 2007 and 2021 before selling it to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund for £305million.

Now, according to Sky Sports, the two parties are at war once again with The Competition Appeals Tribunal unanimously rejecting Sports Direct’s request for an immediate injunction to stop the deal.

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct have failed in bid to sell Newcastle's shirts in stores next season

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct have failed in bid to sell Newcastle’s shirts in stores next season

Sports Direct had claimed an exclusive agreement between JD Sports and Newcastle would damage competition

Sports Direct had claimed an exclusive agreement between JD Sports and Newcastle would damage competition 

Ashley owned Newcastle between 2007 and 2021 and regularly received criticism from fans

Ashley owned Newcastle between 2007 and 2021 and regularly received criticism from fans

Sports Direct had alleged that competition will be damaged by the agreement, with lawyers previously arguing that the retailer, branding themselves the ‘home of football supplies’, should be able to sell cheaper shirts to prevent fans being impacted.

The tribunal are said to have judged the factor as ‘neutral’ when it came to their decision.

Ashely, who could regularly be seen donning a Newcastle replica shirt on match days during his time in charge of the club, lodged a £1.533 million claim at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in March, though his claim has now been swiftly dismissed.

The claim stated that the club has ‘abused its dominant position in the market’ by refusing to supply the new Adidas kit for the 2024-25 season to Sports Direct.

Details within the claim alleged that a decision to prefer rival JD Sports and also sell exclusively through the manufacturers, club shop and website, is a breach of the Competitions Act.

Sports Direct said their order, which would have been based on a similar shipment from last year and not been inflated, would have been for 50,900 units of Newcastle merchandise, most of which would have been the famous black and white striped shirts.

Ashley claimed that the deal between Newcastle and the rival store could hit Geordie fans in the pocket as shirt prices would be higher.

The tribunal said that the retailer would be able to take the club to court over the matter at a later date.

Having been produced by Castore for a number of years, the club binned their partnership ahead of next season, signing a multi-year agreement with Adidas. 

Fans often protested against his ownership and celebrated when he sold club after 14 years

Fans often protested against his ownership and celebrated when he sold club after 14 years

His company, self-branded the ‘home of football supplies’, had lodged a £1.533 million claim at the Competition Appeal Tribunal

A consortium backed by Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman now own Newcastle

A consortium backed by Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman now own Newcastle

The three-person panel wrote on the judgement: ‘To suggest that there was some obligation on Newcastle United FC and Adidas to ensure in their arrangements (i.e. between the Club and Adidas) that supply to Sports Direct be maintained over time represents a significant fetter on competition, not an enhancement of it,

The judgement added: ‘We expect speedy (and, ideally, agreed) proposals from the parties, failing which the Tribunal will, in short order, make its own proposals.’

The lawsuit represents the salvo in a string of collisions between the former and current owners of Newcastle.

Previous flare-ups were over the details of a loan to facilitate the takeover, and the removal of Sports Direct branding around the club’s St James’ Park ground.



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