LONDON, United Kingdom — Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s London soccer team Chelsea paid £67 million ($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 US rival Nike Inc., club accounts published Friday show.
The one-time expense and a further £8.3 million 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 to £70.6 million. Chelsea last year broke the contract with Adidas six years early to sign a 15-year, £900 million deal with Nike, which begins next season.
Parting ways with Mourinho has cost Chelsea a total of £31.3 million. 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 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.
By Tariq Panja; editors: Janet Paskin, Eric Pfanner and Paul Jarvis.