Rangers and Sports Direct in legal row

King: ‘We will not give in to threats from Ashley’

Dave King 2Sports Direct retailer Mike Ashley is refusing to back down in his battle with Rangers chairman Dave King.

The Ibrox club faces legal threats from Mr Ashley in an escalating row over his firm’s influence over Rangers’ merchandise.

Mr King wants to renegotiate terms which give Sports Direct 75% of the club’s merchandising profits, but 9% shareholder Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United, is refusing to back down.

In June Mr Ashley called an emergency general meeting to demand repayment of a £5 million loan issued to the Rangers board which was ousted by Mr King’s consortium in March.

Mr King refused to pay and the dispute worsened when Mr Ashley took out an injunction to stop Mr King revealing the contents of the agreements struck between former Rangers chief executive Charles Green and Sports Direct following the club’s liquidation meltdown.

Mr King has now said he will not allow the club to succumb to threats.

In a statement, Mr King said: “The gagging order prevents me from disclosing the details of our contractual relationship (but) it does not prevent me from updating supporters on the status of the general relationship with Sports Direct.

“Sports Direct continues to litigate with the club in an attempt to enforce its wishes and demands.

“This seems based on the simple logic that Sports Direct can outspend the club in legal fees and thereby deal with the club as it pleases. I assure supporters that the club will not be cowed by this threat and the recent lack of communication (as a result of the gagging order) belies the level of robustness with which the club’s interest has been and will be protected.

“Furthermore, I have sent letters to Sports Direct in my capacity as a director of Rangers Retail Limited taking them to task for poor business practices and corporate governance failures.

“The club believed it was entering into a joint venture with a large public company that would behave as a partner should and would conduct its business affairs in an appropriate fashion.

“In my 40 years of business I cannot recollect having dealt with a public company that is run more like a wholly owned family business and appears unconcerned with other stakeholders – partners or otherwise.

“It remains my intention to ensure that Sports Direct is legally and financially held accountable for its failures.”

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