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Nike's Chinese kit deal proves controversial

Nike has agreed a new contract to supply kit to China's national soccer team ahead of the upcoming Asian Cup tournament, reports, www.sportspromedia.com/. The deal, reportedly worth US$16 million-a-year until 2026, comes after the Chinese FA severed its ties with Nike's greatest rival Adidas at the end of 2014.

China will sport their new red and white Nike strip for the first time when they take on Saudi Arabia in their first game of this year's Asian Cup, hosted by Australia, on Saturday.

According to China Daily, Nike was 'caught off guard' by the fact China's Asian Cup campaign comes so soon into the CFA contract, with the company having had to cobble together a kit at short notice when suppliers usually get more design time.

The newspaper reports that Nike's kit has drawn criticism within China 'as some thought it was incomplete without the dragon element, the traditional Chinese totem.'

Nevertheless, as part of the deal with the CFA, Nike will also supply equipment to and invest in all levels of Chinese soccer, including the Chinese Super League and the CFA Cup and Super Cup competitions.

A statement issued by the Chinese FA said that the tender process for the contract was conducted in an 'open, fair and impartial manner'.

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Ian Ferris
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