Sports marketing firm in legal spat with City over sponsorship deal

A SPORTS marketing agency is set to sue Premier League champions Manchester City over a commission it claims is owed on a multi-million pound sponsorship deal.

Manchester City agreed a three year deal with FTSE 250 recruitment company Hays in July 2013, which is understood to be worth around £5m over its duration.

Rush Sports Marketing, a business backed by Paul Johnson and Darryl Eales, two senior former executives from private equity firm LDC, claims it is owed a 10% commission on the deal, which it claims to have introduced to the club.

The parties have been locked in dispute for the last 14 months, with a source close to Rush telling that it is determined to go the distance in the dispute.

“This is a David versus Goliath battle and Rush has a strong case. It appears it is a common tactic for large football clubs to seek to take smaller agencies through a costly and lengthy court process, assuming they will leave the pitch due to a lack of financial resource, but this is not the case here.”

Rush, which has an office in Oxfordshire and also Hong Kong, counts former LDC Manchester head Johnson and the firm’s recently departed chief executive Darryl Eales – who is chairman of Oxford United FC-  as directors.

Neither were available for comment when contacted by

A spokesman for CIty Football Group said: “As this is an on-going legal issue, it wouldn’t be appropriate for any of the parties to comment.”

Manchester City FC is being represented by law firm Pinsent Masons and Rush by  Manchester-based Millbank Edge.