A Dutch court has ruled that Mesut Özil is no longer allowed to wear adidas branded boots. Nike filed a lawsuit against the Real Madrid midfielder in Amsterdam on the basis of a 'matching right' clause in Özil's Nike endorsement contract that expired in July of this year.
The German international has made a number of competitive appearances wearing adidas football boots this season. Despite no longer being endorsed by Nike, the American sports giants have the right to equal any official offer made by potential rival sponsors before Özil can legally switch boot brands.
According to Özil and his representatives, no contract has been agreed with adidas. However the court has questioned Özil's motives to start wearing adidas boots, finding it unlikely that Özil would switch boot brands without a deal already being in place – athletes rarely leave a sponsor without having another lined up.
Any deal from another sponsorship brand has not been presented to Nike, meaning Özil is not fulfilling his contractual obligations. The court has ruled in favour of Nike and decided that Özil must outline any offer presented to him, therefore allowing Nike to come back with a new offer in return. Failure to do so will result in a €150,000 fine a day.
While this 'matching right' process is taking place Özil can no longer wear the three stripes on his feet. The court has hit him with a 180 day ban on wearing adidas branded boots, meaning Özil can either wear unbranded boots – such as the all white f50 adizero – or return to wearing Nike, as he did against Celta Vigo this past weekend.
It's a rather messy situation. The likely situation is that adidas, Özil and co. were hoping to ride out the 180 day period without making an 'official' offer. Therefore not allowing Nike to table a counter bid for the player.
Özil's future will depend on how much Nike wish to hold on to the Real Madrid superstar. There are suggestions adidas are willing to make him their record signing with a €20m deal. Should Nike match this, the decision will be in the hands of Özil.
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