Chelsea to end kit agreement with Adidas following 2016-17 season
Chelsea have announced that their kit sponsorship agreement with sportswear giant Adidas will come to an end at the close of the 2016-17 season -- six years ahead of schedule.
The Blues insist both parties have mutually agreed to cut short the 10-year, £300 million shirt deal, which became the most lucrative in Premier League history when it was announced in June 2013.
Reports suggest that Chelsea have lined up Nike as their new kit partner beyond the 2016-17 season and agreed to buy out their existing arrangement with Adidas in order to to facilitate the deal.
"Chelsea Football Club can confirm we have mutually agreed with Adidas to end our longstanding partnership at the end of the 2016-17 season," a statement on the club's official website read.
"Having begun our relationship in 2006, we would like to thank Adidas for their fantastic support and cooperation over the past 10 years.
"In that time the club has lifted the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups, and we look forward to a successful final year of partnership."
A statement from Adidas read: "Chelsea Football Club and adidas AG announced today that they have mutually agreed to terminate their existing partnership agreement prematurely.
"The agreement will now end on June 30, 2017 and not, as originally agreed, on June 30, 2023.
"This mutual agreement on early termination of the agreement will allow Chelsea Football Club to enter a new equipment agreement with a competitor of adidas.
"As compensation for the early termination of the contract, the adidas group will receive a payment from Chelsea Football Club in 2017 that will already positively impact the group's net income this year.''
Last week Chelsea and Adidas unveiled the club's new home strip for next season, though the pricing of the replica design at £90 before name and number printing caused controversy and anger among supporters.
The new kit will be worn by Chelsea for the first time when newly-crowned Premier League champions Leicester City visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.