Abramovich’s Chelsea Paid $81.5 Million to Terminate Adidas Deal

  • London soccer club ended accord to sign bigger Nike contract
  • Payoffs to former coaching staff cost Blues 31 million pounds

Diego Costa, right, of Chelsea, celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with his teammate Marcos Alonso during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City in London, on Dec. 31, 2016.

Photographer: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s London soccer team Chelsea paid 67 million pounds ($81.5 million) to end a long-term apparel deal with sporting-goods provider Adidas AG so it could switch to a more lucrative agreement with the German company’s U.S. rival Nike Inc., club accounts published Friday show.

The one-time expense and a further 8.3 million pounds to pay off the contracts of former manager Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff led to the club’s annual loss widening by almost 50 million pounds to 70.6 million pounds. Chelsea last year broke the contract with Adidas six years early to sign a 15-year, 900 million-pound deal with Nike, which begins next season.

Parting ways with Mourinho has cost Chelsea a total of 31.3 million pounds. His initial three-year reign, which brought the club its first league titles since 1955, ended in September 2007 with the team paying 23 million pounds to him and a successor who briefly took charge. Mourinho most recently departed in December 2015 after the club dropped close to the relegation zone a season after Mourinho won his third league title with the Blues. Under new coach Antonio Conte, Chelsea stands atop the Premier League after 20 games.

Chelsea had been with Adidas since 2006 and renewed the agreement for 10 years in 2013. The relationship is set to end June 30.

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