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Liverpool win kit battle with New Balance, clearing path for Nike deal

Steve Nicol says Liverpool thought they could just 'step on the field' to handle Man United.

Liverpool have won their High Court battle with New Balance, allowing Nike to become the club's new kit partner from May 30 next year.

After a three-day trial in London, judge Mr Justice Nigel Teare dismissed the claim brought against the European champions by their suppliers on Friday.

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Liverpool argued that New Balance -- as per a matching clause in their existing deal that was the subject of the litigation -- cannot compete with the distribution capabilities offered by Nike nor their extensive marketing pull.

Judge Teare agreed with the club, but Daniel Oudkerk, QC, representing the Boston-based company, suggested the finding was wrong.

He argued it hinged on the unquantifiable metric of superstars of "the calibre of Lebron James, Serena Williams and Drake" being promised by Nike to promote LFC merchandise.

New Balance's permission to appeal was dismissed.

Nike, who have already spent £6 million on kit design and have reserved factory capacity for 2.9m units can now press ahead with their plans.

"Liverpool FC is pleased with the judge's decision to rule in favour of the club following the legal dispute with our current kit supplier, New Balance," a statement said.

"We will continue with New Balance for the current season, in combination with preparing next season's Liverpool kits with our new supplier."

Nike's proposal of £30m as an "annual rights fee" is less than the £45m fee paid by New Balance.

However, they have committed to a 20% royalty on net sales of Liverpool products, while elevating distribution and marketing of club merchandise.

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