New twist in Ibrox power struggle
Ashley takes SFA to court over King’s ‘fit and proper’ ruling
Retail tycoon Mike Ashley is taking his dispute with the Rangers board to court by calling for a judicial review of the Scottish Football Association’s decision to declare chairman Dave King “fit and proper” to hold the position.
A hearing is scheduled for the court of session in Edinburgh on 4 February. It will be a second action by Mr Ashley who is already pursuing Mr King and the Ibrox club, claiming they breached an injunction on revealing details of the club’s commercial relationship with his Sports Direct company. That case will be heard in the high court in London on 9-11 December.
In a statement, the SFA said: “The Scottish FA can confirm we have received a petition for Judicial Review and will be defending it. We will make no further comment at this stage.”
Ashley lost control of the club on 6 March when Mr King’s consortium seized control at an extraordinary meeting, but he retains almost 9% of the shares and is owed £5 million that he loaned to the club.
Mr King has resisted Mr Ashley’s attempts to make the club repay the debt and continues to press Mr Ashley to renegotiate the merchandising deal with Sports Direct.
The basis of Mr Ashley’s claim against the SFA is that Mr King was convicted of 41 tax offences in South Africa in 2013. He was passed fit and proper to take up the chairmanship at Ibrox after a lengthy investigation into his background.
Mr Ashley owns Newcastle United and the Ibrox board has taken steps to adopt the SFA ruling that the owner of another club should be denied voting rights.