In a dramatic upshot, Adidas has fired a warning shot to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) that it risks being dragged to court.
Adidas accused FAM for breaching of contract on their prospective three-year deal to be the official kit supplier to the Malawi national soccer team.
The warning comes in the wake of FAM's recent decision to drop Adidas and engage another giant brand Umbro, website of The Nation newspaper of malawi reported Saturday.
However, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu down played the issue Friday saying his body is not moved with the threat.
An official of Adidas Imad Ghazal, who is handling the kit supply deal, said in an e-mail message from his base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that FAM cannot pull out of the deal because it already signed the contract with his company through CAF two months ago.
"We are actually surprised that FAM has entered into negotiations with Umbro when it signed a contract with us through CAF in Sudan. The president (Nyamilandu) actually did the paper work on behalf of the Malawi Football Association.
"We trust that they (FAM) will abide by the agreement otherwise it might be a breach of contract and we'll be forced to institute legal proceedings," warned Ghazal from Dubai this week.
However, Nyamilandu, while admitting that he did put pen to paper with Adidas, said his association is entitled to make a U-turn if it is not satisfied with the progress of the agreement.
"Yes, we signed but Adidas has done nothing about it. We have not received a signed copy from them, so it is not a done deal.
"To begin with, we did not approach Adidas. The deal was offered through CAF and the only stipulation was the period of delivery. We tried to contact Adidas to make a follow-up on the issue through CAF but we did not get any help.
"You can imagine at one point we were even told that the man who was handling the deal was on leave. Now we are not going to be held at ransom by a party that did not move quickly. We are in a world of competition and we want a better deal," said Nyamilandu Friday.
The FAM leader also said there is an exit clause in the Adidas deal and, therefore, FAM has no reason to lose its sleep.
"As I said the deal with Adidas is taking too long to materialise and our patience has worn very thin. The final decision will be made by the executive committee next week. But looking at the offers that are on the table, it's most likely that we'll go for Umbro because their offer is very lucrative compared to Adidas," said Nyamilandu.
He also said that FAM received a final much-improved offer from Umbro Friday.
"The offer from Umbro is providing an avenue for FAM to go commercial because we will own exclusive rights for their goods and be able to open shops across the country to sell its items in return for a fee or commission from Umbro to go towards the national team. It is very rich in nature as compared to Adidas.
"Unlike the offer from Adidas which only benefits the senior national team in terms of match uniform, the Umbro offer is in three categories-match uniforms, training equipment and casual wear. Junior national teams as well as clubs will also benefit in terms of equipment. So which one do you think will benefit us, Garry?" said Nyamilandu.
But Ghazal brushed aside Nyamilandu's claims that his company is taking too long to kick-start the deal.
"The deal also involves many other associations from Africa and FAM was told that the delivery would take a period of between 180 and 200 days and by signing the contract it meant that they were in agreement to the deal," said Ghazal.
The deal with Adidas includes supplying five sets of uniform to the Flames for free every year and they also will bear the shipping costs.
On the commercial aspect, FAM would have to make an upfront payment for it to order items like replica jerseys for sale. The items are available in Dubai. But in that case, the association has to bear the shipping costs.
Ghazal said the conditions by Adidas are that the Flames will be required to wear their kit in every competitive match until 2010, the year of the World Cup in South Africa.
Normally, the Adidas deal comes with both kit and a substantial pay-out dependent on the team's success.