Sporting goods manufacturer Adidas has decided to take out restrictive clauses from its contracts for online retailers. The controversial distribution clauses prohibited retailers to sell adidas merchandise on open market places such as Amazon or eBay. Now Adidas is taking a new direction: “As a result of this development and as part of our new strategy, we have decided to allow the sale of our products in open market places, if they meet our quality criteria for brand presentation," according to the news release that adidas sent out to its trading partners.

The decision rests upon pressures from organizations such as the German Federal Association of Online Commerce (Bundesverbands Onlinehandel), who delivered a petition called Initiative Choice in eCommerce signed by more than 14.000 traders to the European Commission, in order to disable trade restrictions or prohibitions for online retailers. Additionally, the Federal Cartel Authority initiated an investigation into the cause which is still running.

Still, important is what this new turn will hold for the goal of a fair competition. “It’s crucial which online strategy Adidas is taking on now. If they should sell directly via Amazon themselves in the future, this would have the same competition-restricting effect and would again exclude the independent sports retailer from the online business”, said Philipp Puttkammer, Intersport retailer and writer of a specialized book on Amazon.