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Report: Sports Direct to sponsor Oldham Athletic

There's a new Sports Direct Arena (probably).

Michael Regan

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct are reportedly on the verge of signing a sponsorship deal with Oldham Athletic, according to the Manchester Evening News. The five-year contract's terms are undisclosed but thought to be the most lucrative deal in the history of the club currently playing in League One. Sports Direct will run the club shop and manufacture the kit, and Boundary Park will be renamed (our condolences). This budding partnership between Oldham and Mike Ashley will likely lead to preseason friendlies and possible loan deals, according to the article.

I saw a lot of speculation on Twitter that the relationship could open Ashley up to a violation of the Football Association rule preventing owners from having interest in more than one club, but a quick examination of the laws of the game will show that sponsorship does not legally create a conflict of interest. Ashley does not own any part of Oldham Athletic and is instead doing business with the club as the agent of separate business (Sports Direct).

Sorry to burst your bubble if you're one of the ones that was hoping that he could be ousted on a technicality. We don't rate Mike Ashley's football acumen too highly around here, but there's no way he would have made his fortune if he was that dumb.

In any case, a positive relationship with a League One team is a positive step in terms of developing the Newcastle youth and reserve players.