Dolf Segaar and Tim Wilms have successfully represented Adidas International Marketing B.V. (“Adidas”) in summary proceedings against FC Barcelona player Rafinha. The parties agreed a sponsorship agreement in 2013 but disputed whether the unilateral extension of the agreement by Adidas was valid under Dutch law. Rafinha’s counsel argued that this was not the case and that the player had therefore elected to stop wearing and promoting Adidas products. On the basis of its assertion that the extension was valid, Adidas requested that Rafinha be made to comply with the agreement and in particular with his obligations to wear and promote Adidas products.
The judge in the summary proceedings held that the unilateral extension clause was sufficiently clear. Such a clause was, in the opinion of the judge, not unusual in sponsorship agreements such as this. Moreover, Rafinha was represented by his father, a player agent, and was given the opportunity to seek legal advice. The player’s arguments that the unilateral extension clause was void or voidable, and/or that the extension would be contrary to reasonableness and fairness, were therefore rejected. There were also no grounds for early termination of the agreement by Rafinha, according to the judge.
In light of these conclusions, the judge ruled that Rafinha must comply with the sponsorship agreement and that he should be prohibited from wearing products made by Adidas’ competitors.
The decision (in Dutch) can be found here: