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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Adidas in Germany boot deal row
Jans Lehmann
Jans Lehmann says it is a matter of health, not money
The German football federation looks set to give in over a sponsorship row about the boots some of its top players wear in international matches.

Adidas is the official kit provider to Germany's national team and it insists players should also wear its footwear as well as its strips.

But stars including goalkeeper Jans Lehmann want to wear their own boots.

The Arsenal stopper, sponsored by Nike, said he was in "massive pain" wearing Adidas boots during the summer.

Insisting it was a "health rather than a finance issue", he is one of the players rebelling against the policy.

Strike threat

The president of the German football association is expected to overturn the ruling and let players wear their own footwear ahead of the team's first Euro 2008 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland next month.

Football boots are tools of the trade
Greville Waterman
Sports sponsorship expert

Some players had threatened a strike for a friendly game against Sweden on Wednesday night, but agreed to play at the last minute.

Others involved in the row include the World Cup's top goalscorer Miroslav Klose.

Adidas, which has a deal with the German national team until 2010, said it would be having talks with its partners soon.

Sports sponsorship expert Greville Waterman of 141 Sports and Entertainment, part of WPP, said the players were in the right.

He told the BBC: "Football boots are tools of the trade.

"While it's reasonable that sponsors claim exclusivity in most things, including apparel, when it comes to boots and goalkeeping gloves they're something the players need to guarantee their performance so the players need to choose what's right for them."

Conflict

He said it was "naive in the extreme" for the football association and Adidas to sign an exclusivity deal.

"We need to take into consideration most (players) have their own contracts, possibly with conflicting manufacturers."

Sponsorship rows between player and country are nothing new.

In the 1970s Stan Bowles played for England against the Netherlands wearing an Adidas boot on one foot and a Gola boot on the other - taking sponsorship payments from both firms.


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