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Adidas Won't Top Nike's Bid To Sponsor German Soccer Team

German sporting goods firm Adidas will not enter a bidding war with rival Nike to keep its sponsorship of Germany's national soccer team, Adidas's chief executive told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Kicker newspaper said earlier this month Nike had offered the German Football Association (DFB) 400 million euros ($528 million) for an eight-year deal from 2011 plus a 50 million- euro signing bonus on top.

DFB had said it had received a "very interesting offer" from Nike for the period after its contract with Adidas expires at the end of 2010 but declined to provide further details.

In an interview published in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday, Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said. "If we did that (enter a bidding war), everyone would say we were crazy. And we wouldn't do that."

The newspaper said Nike's offer was almost five times as high as what Adidas currently pays.

Last week, DFB President Theo Zwanziger said that choosing whether to remain loyal to long-time sponsor Adidas or to accept a lucrative offer from Nike would be one of his toughest decisions in 2007.

Zwanziger said Nike's offer was tempting because it could fund a lot of non-profit football activities in the country.

Germany is more closely linked to the Adidas brand than any other team, with ties going back more than 50 years. France and Argentina are the only other major national soccer teams still in Adidas gear.

Germany have won three World Cups wearing Adidas boots and enjoyed close ties with the Bavarian sportswear maker since founder Adi Dassler helped them win their first title in 1954 with his revolutionary screw-in studs.

Sports goods firms battle to sponsor the world's top soccer teams because it enhances their brand image and boosts sales of replica wear such as jerseys.

Shares in Adidas were up 1.1% at 37.90 euros, compared with a 1.4% gain in the German blue-chip DAX index.

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