Sports sponsorship agency Winlink is suing Liverpool FC for a reported £1.1m regarding the Premier League side’s £15m training kit sponsorship with BetVictor.
The legal dispute, which is being settled in High Court, is around Winlink’s involvement in the club’s partnership, with the agency stating that one of its senior executives had introduced club officials to the bookmaker.
Winlink also underlined that the firm was ‘heavily engaged over a number of years in securing a successful introduction’ which led to BetVictor agreeing a £5m per year training kit sponsorship with Liverpool between the 2016/17 and 2018/19 campaigns.
Liverpool responded to the agency’s claims, stating that it was the club’s former head of global partnerships, Raffaella Valentino, who conducted the deal. Moreover, the Premier League side stated that Winlink’s introduction had no sway on the execution of the deal.
Hearing over the legal dispute officially began on Monday, with Winlink’s representative Andrew Sutcliffe QC highlighting the agency’s credentials in ‘identifying and introducing betting companies to sports rights holders’. Some of the examples Sutcliffe mentioned included the agency’s relationships with Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Juventus with the agency successfully introducing the clubs to bookmakers. This resulted in the clubs paying commissions after the teams secured deals.
Moreover, Sutcliffe said that Winlink had kept its relationship with Liverpool arguing that the agency had to only fulfil two conditions in introducing club executives to bookmakers and that the bookmakers then sponsored the club. As a result, he stated to the High Court that the football club ‘had not kept its side of the bargain’.
Liverpool’s representative, Robert Anderson QC argued that the agency’s services had no influence on the club securing its sponsorship deal. The football club said that Winlink had introduced its executives two and a half years before the 2016 BetVictor deal and that the agency holds ‘no rights’ to claim compensation, regardless of any previous introductions.
The trial, which is being held remotely, is due to last five days with Judge Mark Pelling QC expected to reserve his final judgement until a later date.