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Southampton pursuing legal action against LD Sports

(Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

English Premier League club Southampton is taking legal action against its former front-of-shirt sponsor, Chinese media company LD Sports.

The club signed a three-year contract worth £7.5m (€8.4m/$9.9m) per season with the brand at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, but this was cut short in August.

Southampton said at the time that it had been “left with no alternative” but to immediately end the contract with LD Sports after failing to “secure confirmation” that the sponsor was “still an appropriate and viable partner for the club”.

The club’s chief executive Martin Semmens has now told The Athletic: “[Legal action] is not being considered. It’s already taken. It’s something we have to do. We will continue pursuing them and finding a solution that will help our club out, but we feel that will take months and not weeks.”

Concerns were raised about Southampton’s relationship with LD at the time of signing, with the LD Sports product offering unknown and the company yet to launch.

The club has since replaced LD Sports with the signing of a one-year agreement with Sportsbet.io, the cryptocurrency-based sports betting platform.

The early conclusion of the LD Sports contract occurred just weeks before the start of the 2020-21 season, leaving Southampton with the added challenge that many supporters had already bought new kit featuring the logo of the Chinese firm.

Following this, the club was forced to temporarily halt all shirt sales ahead of the new season.