The ongoing saga over a possible multi-million deal between US sportswear giant, Nike, and UK premiership club, Manchester United, has taken a new turn.

Shareholders United has written a letter to United's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, expressing fears following allegations on a recent BBC Panorama programme. The programme alleged that Nike used a factory in Cambodia that employs children under the age of 15, the legal working age in the country.

In the letter, Shareholders United say: "United should not conclude any deal with Nike until you are totally satisfied that it is 100 per cent clean on this issue, the use of child labour." But a spokesman for the club said it was "inconceivable" that the club would enter into an agreement with a company if there was an alleged problem over use of child labour.

Recently, it was revealed that United's current kit maker, Umbro, had taken legal advice after revelations that Manchester United had agreed a multi-million deal with Nike. Umbro, which has made United's kits for the past eight years, still has two years left to run on its current contract with the club.

Nike was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

By Deborah Bowyer