European champions Liverpool have won a legal battle over a multi-million-pound sponsorship deal with kit suppliers New Balance, paving the way to sign a deal with a new supplier.
Liverpool were taken to court by New Balance after it was alleged that the Premier League club was looking to switch to a new deal with rivals Nike once their existing contract, reported to be worth £40m (€46.3m) per year, ended in May 2020.
Boston-based New Balance have been Liverpool's official kit supplier since the 2015/16 campaign and believed they should have been allowed to match Nike's offer.
However, the club successfully argued that New Balance could not match Nike's offer with respect to marketing and distribution, with the judge ruling New Balance's offer "less favourable to Liverpool" compared to Nike's offer.
"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 club spokesman told Reuters.
"We will continue with New Balance for the current season, in combination with preparing next season's Liverpool kits with our new supplier."
New Balance said they were "disappointed" with the outcome, believing they were able to match the competing offer.
"We're disappointed that we're not able to continue our successful sponsorship of the Liverpool Football Club," a New Balance spokeswoman told Reuters via email.
"We believe strongly that we matched the competing offer and would have delivered many more years of record-breaking kit sales. We're looking forward to seeing Liverpool continue to win this season wearing their New Balance kit."