Reports from Italy are suggesting that all is not well in the Inter Milan x Nike partnership. The indication is that the brand are asking to reduce their payments to the club by €1m due to Nerazzurri’s partnership with fashion brand Moncler.

Inter Milan and Nike have been in partnership since the 1998/99 season, however it’s looking increasingly likely that it could be coming to an end in the near future. Reports from March of last year suggested that things weren’t going smoothly in the renegotiating of a new deal, and now there are further details emerging of a rift centring around Inter’s partnership with Milan-based fashion powerhouse Moncler.

Inter announced the formal-wear partnership with Moncler in December last year and it is due to last for three years. It will see the fashion label dressing out both the players and the management and coaching teams in collections that are to be worn en route to games. However, according to Italian finance news outlet Calcio e Finanza, Nike feel that the partnership with Moncler violates the terms of their own agreement with Inter, and as a result the brand could refuse to pay part of their sponsorship payments, reportedly €1m. The Swoosh’s current deal with Inter includes a clause which limits Inter from entering into other clothing and shoes partnerships, although there are exceptions for formal wear. Clearly, all of this will not aid the negotiating process…

The deal is set to expire in June 2024 and the brand currently pays the club around €10m a season, much less than other big teams, including Juventus, who are getting €51m Euro from adidas a season. This fact will not have gone unnoticed by the Inter hierarchy, and this latest development is only going to make the relationship with Nike less stable going forward.

Other reports on negotiations suggested that Inter were looking to extend their current kit deal and double its value with their qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League and their continuing form in Serie A being factors that would convince Nike to go ahead.

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It seems that the club have slowly been distancing themselves from Nike in recent years though. Back in October 2020, Inter announced that they had taken back their retail and licensing rights from Nike, with the new operations model between the two organisations allowing Inter to take full control of their product sales network. “What we can officially announce today is that from Nike we bought back the rights of retail and licensing,” said Alessandro Antonello, Inter’s chief executive in a statement regarding the move. “Through the repurchase of these rights we will be able to generate new important revenues, which will go directly to the club. Then new frontiers are opened to face new markets.

Inter are currently Nike’s only team in the Italian top flight, so with this news combined with reports that PUMA could take on the match ball rights from the 22/23 season, it’s looking increasingly likely that we may see Serie A with no Nike representation at all.

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Definitely one to watch...