Adidas sues Nike over Sachin Tendulkar
The feud between sport apparel giants Nike and Adidas over the use of Sachin Tendulkar's name took a new twist on Friday as Adidas, with whom Tendulkar has a personal endorsement contract, dragged Nike to the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) through a petition.
Adidas also asked the fair trade practices body to direct Tendulkar to furnish an undertaking that he personally endorsed Adidas, although Nike have a deal with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) for their team's on-field uniform.
The MRTPC decided to carry on the proceedings in July.
There's been a silent battle on for Indian cricket turf since Nike won a five-year sponsorship deal for the Indian cricket team in 2005 beating Reebok and Adidas, and launched T-shirts with Tendulkar's name and jersey number on its back. The problem here was that the players concerned, many of whom, including Tendulkar, had pre-existing personal contracts with Adidas and Reebok, were not consulted.
Adidas, however, clarified that they did not have any grudge against Tendulkar (sources say he is anyway quite clear that he has not granted any rights to anyone but Adidas) or the BCCI, " There is no conflict with Sachin Tendulkar or the BCCI and they have been named in the petitions only as proforma respondents," a company statement said. "We have had a longstanding association with Tendulkar and are committed to the relationship."
All said and done, the Board's stand becomes critical under such circumstances. There are too many grey areas in their contractual issues, which could lead to huge problems. But BCCI officials shrugged the issue off on Friday, as chief administrative officer Prof Ratnakar Shetty said: "At this of point of time, BCCI hasn't received any notice."
However, according to sources, though the BCCI is split on the issue, it will stand by its sponsors rather than players. "Yet, the board should have interfered a long time ago and stopped Nike from selling such products," a Board source said. This isn't over yet.