The agreement, which is scheduled to stretch beyond the forthcoming campaign, also includes sister teams Beerschot, La Berrichonne de Chateauroux, Kerala United and Al Hilal United; who are also part of the global sporting network established by HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his associates.
The organisation, which is known as United World, recently branched into other disciplines including baseball and is also responsible for overseeing what has been described as a “multi-national” academy.
Abdullah Alghamdi, the chief executive officer of UW, said: “We are delighted to announce a first of its kind technical kit partnership with Erreà. This partnership is a key commercial milestone in our strategic transformation and a leading example for all multi-club ownership structures.
“Throughout the pitch and kit delivery process, Erreà has proven to be a true partner by honouring the intrinsic value of each club fairly and their commitments in service.
“We have crafted the partnership with the intent to serve the benefits both of our clubs and their fans at best. Hence, we are confident that our fans will welcome Erreà at our stores mainly behind the first-ever bespoke team wear, safe-for-skin fabrics and quality of European production. I want to thank all team members on both sides for their hard work and commitment.”
The deal, which The Star exclusively revealed was being brokered midway through last season, marks the end of United’s previous association with Adidas. According to those responsible for arranging it, it could be the first of several UW wide projects rolled-out over the coming months. Those under the UW umbrella, including United, are already understood to be collaborating in spheres such as scouting and recruitment with a software programme, designed to help them pool their knowledge on potential new targets, believed to have been installed at their respective training centres in recent months.
“We are thrilled to announce this new deal and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with a company who share a similar vision and model to Sheffield United,” Steven Bettis, United’s CEO, said. “I know there has been a lot of work undertaken over a period of time from the club and United World to cement this exciting partnership, and I’m sure fans will be keen to see some of the early results when we release details of our kits for the 2022/23 season in due course.”
Although United’s long-term involvement in UW has been thrown into doubt by Henry Mauriss’ attempted takeover at Bramall Lane - the American’s offer, which is currently being scrutinised by the English Football League, does not stretch to Beerschot, Chateauroux and their associates in India and Dubai - the importance Prince Abdullah has placed on the arrangement with Errea was reflected by the fact that Alghamdi, Bettis and their counterparts from Belgium and France all travelled to the firm’s headquarters to celebrate the occasion. Representatives of the media, including this newspaper, were also present; being given a tour of Errea’s production plant in nearby Terrile.
Beerschot’s Frédéric Van den Steen commented: : “Erreà is a brand that combines the Italian fashion tradition with modern sportswear. We’re looking forward to working together with United World and Erreà within this long and durable partnership. A partnership which will provide us as a club with a great support system on a teamwear front, as well as a strong commercial plan.”
Founded in 1988, Errea are attempting to increase their footprint in English football having also agreed to provide Middlesbrough’s apparel. They are the first Italian sportswear company to be awarded Oeko-tex standard certification, which guarantees their products are free from harmful chemicals.
Patrick Trotignon, La Berrichonne de Châteauroux’s chief executive, said: “We are happy to be a part of the technical kit sponsorship that United World has agreed with Erreà, that symbolises the Italian know-how and is known for its design and quality.
“Erreà is a brand that genuinely listens to its partners and thus can adapt to the requirements and smallest details to satisfy them. This new partnership among La Berrichonne, Erreà and United World will undoubtedly bring collective success.”
Unlike Adidas, who reserve their bespoke designs for Europe’s leading names, Errea have worked with UW’s members to ensure their kits are unique. They are also thought to have ‘front loaded’ their payments, rather than spreading them out equally over the course of their contract with UW.
“We are delighted to have signed a technical sponsorship agreement with United World,” Roberto Gandolfi, Errea’s vice-president, said. “As always, we have been working closely with the clubs
on new designs, and we are excited to see the reaction of the fans to what we have produced.
“A special feeling was created right from the start, which I am sure will lead to innovative designs that will help the clubs in the coming years. The importance of this collaboration represents an extremely prestigious milestone for our company and the ideal culmination of many years of work. A very significant professional challenge in which we have put a lot of creativity and energy.
“We brought more than 30 years of experience to the creation of the kits, creating a unique and immediately distinctive look for each club involved,” he added.