Sports Direct headed to court today against Newcastle United as it claimed the exclusive kit deal between the football club and rival JD Sports to be “unlawful”, the BBC has reported.

Sports Direct, which is owned by former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, claimed the football club “misused its dominant position” by refusing to provide the retailer with the team’s 2024/25 kit, instead granting “exclusive rights” to JD Sports.

The retailer is seeking an injunction from the Competition Appeal Tribunal to stop the deal as well as £1.5m worth of damages as company lawyers said preventing competition from selling cheaper shirts would harm fans and result in a loss of “substantial” sales, footfall and reputation for Sports Direct.

However, Newcastle United said there was “no evidence” that competition would be damaged with lawyers saying that in the past, Sports Direct has signed similar “cosy” exclusivity deals with manufacturer Castore to sell Rangers and Newcastle kits.

The football club’s lawyers said Sports Direct had only taken action against Newcastle United for signing an exclusive deal, while other clubs including Celtic, Leicester City and Leeds United as well as the Welsh and Scottish football associations had entered similar agreements with JD Sports in the past.

Ashley sold Newcastle United to a Saudi-led consortium for £305m in 2021 and is in a legal dispute with current Newcastle director Amanda Staveley who owns a 10% stake in the club alongside other investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.