Appeal court reverses Force India sponsor ruling

Wed, 6 October 2010, 06:01

Oct.6 (GMM) England’s Court of Appeal has reversed the High Court decision of last year ordering sponsors to pay millions in damages to Force India.

The Abu Dhabi companies Etihad Airways and Aldar Properties were ordered to pay $4.7m to the Silverstone based team late last year.

They agreed a three-year deal worth $20m in 2007 when the team was known as Spyker, and were found to have breached contract by switching a year later to Ferrari.

But the court of appeal this week ruled that the companies were entitled to cancel the deal.

Etihad argued that the promotion of a rival airline – Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher – was not allowed in the contract, and Aldar argued that Mallya’s promotion of an alcohol brand was a breach.

And both companies were contractually guaranteed the status as the team’s most prominent sponsors, appeal judge Sir Bernard Rix ruled.

“In my judgment … Force India rode roughshod over all these rights and protections,” he said.

The Abu Dhabi companies will follow up their court victory with a claim for damages.

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