Tue, Aug 28, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Bundesliga teams not satisfied with record Adidas deal

AP , BERLIN

Although the deal was billed as a worldwide record for soccer, German clubs reacted bitterly on Sunday to an agreement with Adidas to outfit the country's national team.

That's because US rival Nike offered double the money Adidas will pay to have the three-time World Cup champions wear its gear -- 500 million euros (US$680 million) over eight years.

Many Bundesliga clubs felt the German Soccer Federation should have negotiated a more lucrative deal, using the leverage of a nine-month battle between Adidas and Nike, which aims to become the sport's top brand by the World Cup in 2010.

"The whole thing appears to have gone poorly," said Roland Kentsch, Arminia Bielefeld's business manager. "The federation could have gotten the sum raised in the direction of the Nike offer."

The federation voted to accept the Adidas deal on Friday after arbitration, in which a judge leaned toward the German company's claim that a verbal agreement allowed it to extend an existing contract.

By spurning the Nike offer and signing with Adidas from 2011 through 2018, the federation will lose about 250 million euros and the Bundesliga teams will have 50 million euros less to split up.

"The loss of income certainly isn't something desirable," said Horst Heldt, manager of German champions VfB Stuttgart.

Until arbitration, the federation disputed Adidas' claim that the verbal agreement from last year allowed it to extend its contract until 2014. That would rule out the Nike offer, which ran from 2011 to 2018.

Wolfsgang Niersbach, the federation's general secretary, insisted German soccer was still a big winner.

"We now have the top agreement in the world," Niersbach said. "This is the biggest deal a soccer federation has ever reached with a supplier."

At stake for Adidas and Nike was a national team hugely popular inside Germany, the world's third-biggest economy. Along with Brazil, it has been the most consistent World Cup team, getting regular exposure to hundreds of millions of television viewers across the globe.

Since its first title in 1954, Germany has played seven of 14 World Cup final games, tying it with Brazil, and has never been knocked out before the quarter-finals.

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