Liverpool headed to court to resolve sponsor dispute

              Liverpool's Roberto Firmino reaches for the ball during the British premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Liverpool, at the Stamford Bridge Stadium, London, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — New Balance is taking Liverpool to court in a bid to remain the European soccer champion’s uniform supplier beyond their current contract.

The U.S. company’s deal with Liverpool expires next year and Nike has made an offer to become the new sponsor of the English club.

New Balance says in a statement it has “matched the offer made by Nike” and is “eager and confident to maintain its sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club.” There is reportedly a clause in the current deal which says New Balance can continue as supplier provided it matches offers of new bidders.

New Balance says “LFC has called into question elements of the agreement and as such we are asking the courts for clarity on this case.”

Liverpool said New Balance “has commenced a legal dispute with the club,” but would not comment any further.

New Balance has been the uniform supplier to Liverpool since 2011. The current deal is worth a reported 45 million pounds ($56 million) per season.