Newcastle United announce JD Sports partnership amid Sports Direct dispute


Newcastle United have announced JD Sports as the club’s new official sports retail partner.

The agreement means the retailer — which has more than 1,200 stores across 24 countries worldwide — will stock Newcastle’s 2024-25 home, away and third kits, which will be manufactured by German sportswear giant Adidas.

In April, JD’s rival retailer Sports Direct attempted to secure an injunction at tribunal to prevent the deal, which it claims breaches competition laws.

Sports Direct, which is run by former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, were also seeking £1.5million ($1.9m) in damages.

Ashley sold the club for £305m ($386m) to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund in 2021 after a 14 year-spell in charge that was punctuated by fan protests over a perceived lack of investment.

Lawyers for Sports Direct said preventing the “retailer that offered the lowest prices” from selling next season’s club kits would harm consumers.

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Along came Mike Ashley

Thomas de la Mare KC, representing Newcastle, said the deal was a “tripartite” arrangement — commonplace practice in the market — between the club, manufacturer Adidas and JD Sports, which would not contravene laws on fair competition.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) dismissed Sports Direct’s case on April 12. The three-person tribunal panel ruled unanimously to refuse the injunction, citing Sports Direct’s failure to “show there is a serious issue to be tried”, meaning they did not feel compelled to take interim action.

The parties will now go to trial in order to resolve the dispute. No court date has been confirmed as of yet.

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(Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)



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