The long-protracted Mesut Ozil boot-swapping saga looks to have reached it’s heady conclusion (for now) as Nike filed a lawsuit that was approved by a Dutch court earlier this week, preventing him from wearing adidas boots.
Real Madrid star Ozil has been trying out different football boots since Los Blancos’ pre-season tour of the US, more often than not appearing in adidas Predator LZ’s or all-white adidas F50 adiZero’s.
However, during this weekend’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo, Ozil was back in the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII – causing many to believe that the German international had come to an amicable agreement with the American super-brand.
This week, though, has revealed a different side of the story as details of Nike’s court case against Mesut Ozil have come to light.
Despite Ozil’s contract with Nike ending in the summer, after the former Werder Bremen star turned down a lucrative deal, under the terms of the old contract Nike still retain the right to match any other brand’s offer of individual sponsorship.
So, by wearing adidas boots with their three stripes and logos on full display, Ozil shot himself in the foot. According to sites in Ozil’s ancestral homeland, Turkey, Ozil’s only defence would be that he was wearing the fully-branded boots of his own volition.
The Dutch court, however, ruled that such a high-profile athlete would be unlikely to wear the logos of another brand without another deal being in place. Despite adidas’ protestations to the contrary, it was decided that even an informal deal would be in breach of the pre-standing agreement with Nike.
The result? Ruling in favour of Nike, the court decided that Ozil must wear brand-less boots or Nike boots for the next 180 days.
So, Ozil can continue to wear the Vapor VIII’s he wore at the weekend or he can wear black or white-out cleats for the best part of six months or face a fine of ˘€š¬150,000 a day.
On the other hand, adidas could go through the official channels and table an offer for Ozil – though they would be forced to compete with Nike’s counter-offer should they do so.
The reality is, with Ozil participating in no major international tournaments in the next 6 months and the Champions League final not until the end of May, adidas will likely want to take advantage of the disagreement with Nike and will simply wait until mid-April to sign Ozil up.
Ozil isn’t the first superstar to underestimate the binding power of a Nike contract; AC Milan’s Robinho began testing Mizuno and adidas boots as he assumed his contract with the Swoosh was over – only to find his contract had auto-renewed and he now technically' owed ˘€š¬300,000 per day he was spotted in a competitor’s footwear. Ouch.
Which outcome do you think is more likely? Will Ozil black-out his boots for the next six months?
Let us know in the comments!
Hahaha, what a joke.
No wonder, many atheletes leave Nike (Henry, Aguero etc.). Nike treats the players like their slaves, I never heard a story like this about adidas. Nike are brutal like other american companies (Apple who produce their expensive gadgets for peanuts and don’t see how the workers in China are exploited). It only buiseness.
The clause in the contract about Nike reserving the right to match any rival offer when the contract has expired is mind-boggling; who on earth would sign such a thing? One would think they’d carefully have read the contract and seen the proverbial alarm-bells (given how onerous this term is) as it effectively amounts to a restriction of trade. Which begs the question, what kind of agents/lawyers would allow this to pass?
What Adidas should have done in is stepped in and made an interim offer in writing for 0 Euro; Nike would of course attempt to trump that and then Ă–zil was free to walk for nothing over to Adidas pending a revised agreement further on down the track. Getting it down on paper in that fashion could have avoided the headache and further been a clear demonstration that the boot switch was clearly volitional and not motivated by a bigger pay-day (which of course would be fulfilled later when a revised agreement is agreed upon).
Incredible stuff- the Robinho matter was lunacy as well; who on earth signs a contract that renews itself when it expires?!
Ă–zil: first half against Dortmund: Nike, second half: Adidas. Maybe an expensive but very good decision!
still lost the match too.
hmmm idk why they make such a big deal about it, he had a sponsorship contract and didnt abide by it, so therefore he was forced to abide by it (didnt even have to pay fines like robinho). he will be signed by adidas later in the year anyways, which i suppose would be better bc the predators fit him more.