New board battle with retail tycoon

Rangers move to curb Ashley’s Ibrox power

IbroxRangers board has agreed to Mike Ashley’s demands to hold a general meeting but has set out plans to limit his influence over the club.

The meeting, which will be held on Friday, June 12, will give shareholders a vote on Mr Ashley’s request for a £5 million loan to be repaid.

Dave King, the club’s new chairman who has resisted Mr Ashley’s demands, said shareholders had no power to force the board to pay the money back.

He has gone on record to thank the Sports Direct owner’s contribution to keeping Rangers afloat but has indicated a desire to see its 8.92% shareholder exit Ibrox and for the merchandising deal with Sports Direct to be renegotiated.

A circular has now been issued to shareholders ahead of next month’s meeting and includes a proposal for reopening talks on the retail deal.

With reference to previous sanctions placed on Mr Ashley by the Scottish Football Association, shareholders will be asked to contribute to a discussion on “disapplying voting rights in respect of any shareholding(s) which breach [Scottish FA dual interest] rules”.

The circular continues: “The directors will update shareholders at the meeting as to why they believes this step is necessary, the potential effect of any further breach of these rules and the timetable for presenting a resolution for shareholders’ consideration.”

Rangers will provide information on the club’s relationship with Rangers Retail Limited, in which Mr Ashley’s Sports Direct is a 75% shareholder.

The directors will also ask “that the shareholders support the directors of the company in their desire to ensure that the contractual arrangements between the club and various members of the Sports Direct group of companies are renegotiated on a basis that is fair and reasonable for both parties and will deliver best value to both the club and Sports Direct.

“The shareholders agree that these negotiations need to address the whole relationship between the club and Sports Direct in order to achieve that goal.”

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