AS Roma Obtains Victory in ICC International Arbitration Against New Balance

February 15, 2023

Cleary Gottlieb represented Associazione Sportiva Roma S.r.l. (AS Roma) in obtaining an important victory in an ICC international arbitration against New Balance Athletics Inc. (New Balance).

The arbitration had been brought by New Balance, AS Roma’s current technical sponsor, which accused AS Roma of having breached New Balance’s right of first refusal by entering into an agreement with another technical sponsor starting from the 2023/2024 football season. New Balance requested the sole arbitrator to enjoin AS Roma from performing its new sponsorship agreement and to order it to renew the agreement with New Balance.

By an award dated February 15, 2023, the sole arbitrator denied all of New Balance’s claims and held that AS Roma complied with New Balance’s right of first refusal. The award held that AS Roma entered into the new agreement only after New Balance, duly provided with an opportunity to match the financial terms of the offer submitted by the new technical sponsor, failed to do so (including with regards to the distribution of the club’s products and their promotion via social media and other channels).

In June 2022, New Balance had also brought the same claims in an emergency arbitration, which also ended with the rejection of all of the interim measures requested by New Balance.