Jose Mourinho's Man United deal delayed over watch, car and casino endorsement conflicts
Jose Mourinho’s impending appointment at Manchester United has been held up by potential conflicts of interest between a series of the former Chelsea manager’s personal endorsement deals and the club’s own commercial partnerships.
Lawyers from both sides have been locked in negotiations over a number of image rights issues, primarily Mourinho’s deal with car manufacturer Jaguar but also watch and casino sponsors.
United have a seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet – a division of General Motors - worth £357 million and were keen to resolve any possible conflict of interest with Mourinho’s financial arrangement with Jaguar.
Mourinho also has an endorsement deal with Hublot, the Swiss watch maker who used to be a United sponsor, but the Manchester club have a tie up with Bulova, an American watch company, which presented another complication.
Similarly, United have a commercial contract with Donaco International, a casino and leisure resort operator in South Korea as well as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Mourinho has a deal with Paradise Co, a South Korean casino operator.
There is no suggestion that these issues pose any threat to a deal being completed and it is thought that the parties involved were getting close on Wednesday morning to finalising a deal but it is likely that there has been an element of compromise on the sides of all involved – United, Mourinho and sponsors. It is thought that Mourinho’s contract with United will limit the number of partnership he is allowed to sign while he is the club’s manager.
There remains optimism that the appointment could be announced on Thursday but there are still some minor matters to resolve meaning the news many not be made public until Friday.
It is thought Mourinho no longer has a tie-in with Samsung so there has been no risk of conflict on that front with United’s myriad territory specific mobile and telecommunications rights.
United and Mourinho have a common interest where Adidas are concerned, though. United’s 10-year deal with the German sports retail giant is worth £750 million while the Portuguese is an enthusiastic global ambassador for Adidas and has a close friendship with its chief executive, Herbert Hainer.
Mourinho has agreed personal terms on a three-year contract that could be worth around £12 million annually with bonuses.
Louis van Gaal’s basic salary was £3.3 million annually but with bonus and loyalty payments it could have reached as high as £8 million a year, although Mourinho will earn far more at Old Trafford.
United had an agreement in principle in place with Mourinho for some time before Van Gaal was sacked but that was essentially a guarantee that he would get the job if the Dutchman was sacked and a loose contract framework.
In February 2014, United agreed a 5½ year contract with Wayne Rooney that, in addition to a basic salary and image rights, featured an agreement between the club’s commercial arm and the England captain’s own corporate vehicle – Stoneygate – that allowed United to sell all of Rooney’s individual sponsorship rights. Such an agreement meant United making a forward guarantee of payments to Rooney’s company and enabled the player to benefit from the club’s successful sales division.
But it is thought extremely unlikely that United, or other clubs for that matter, would enter into such arrangements with a manager. Clubs do not hold the same contractual rights to a manager as players and the deals with managers invariably do not feature the same length or stability of rights that exist with players’ contracts.