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Sunday 21 September 2014

Nike refuses to hand over documents on dealings with golfer

Published 25/06/2014 | 02:30

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Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy during the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy during the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 28, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.

SPORTSWEAR giant Nike, a major sponsor of Rory McIlroy, will not grant his former agent access to confidential details of its dealings with the Ulsterman.

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Mr McIlroy struck a $20m (€14.7m)-a-year sponsorship deal in 2012 with Nike, which closely guards its dealings with athletes who promote its brand.

The Irish Independent has learned that Nike has objected to the production of confidential documents in the Irish High Court action brought by Mr McIlroy against his former agent, Horizon Sports management, which helped negotiate the Nike deal before they parted company in acrimonious circumstances last year.

Nike says confidential information can not be shared in the Irish proceedings – and has invoked a protective order issued in the US courts.

Both Nike and Mr McIlroy were sued in the US by Oakley, a former sponsor of Mr McIlroy.

Oakley had maintained that it had the first right of refusal in resigning Mr McIlroy and that Mr McIlroy and Nike violated that right. A protective order was issued to prevent the disclosure of certain confidential documents connected to the case.

Mr McIlroy settled his action with Oakley last November after spending €1.1m defending the action.

Last December, a Californian court ruled that Nike acted impeccably and within the law when signing the Ulsterman on a $20m (€14.7m)-a-year equipment contract in 2012.

In court papers, Nike said that it had no objection to the production of the publicly available pleadings, motions and court briefs from the Oakley v Nike case.

But it said that to the extent that Horizon sought extra documents designated confidential or highly confidential, it was prevented from doing so because of the US protective order.

Irish Independent

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