New war of words at Ibrox

Rangers tell Ashley that retail deal is over

Mike Ashley Sky vidRangers have announced that it intends to terminate contracts with minority shareholder Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct to sell club merchandise.

The Ibrox club has a 51-49% joint venture arrangement with Sports Direct – Rangers Retail Ltd (RRL) – set up by former chief executive Charles Green.

But Rangers’ new board has made several attempts at tearing up the deal which is said to earn the club just four pence from every pound spent in their club shop. It has led to the boycott among some fans, which has damaged the club’s income.

Mr Ashley (pictured) has resisted moves by the board to renegotiate, and the increasingly bitter battle between the two has been fought in the courts.

A seven-year notice period required to cancel the arrangement has been triggered by Rangers but the board is keen to pull out earlier in order to improve its earnings.

Mr Ashley, owner of Newcastle United, is now facing a Football League investigation into dual ownership, the outcome of which may weaken his grip on Rangers’ commercial interests.

In a statement, the club said: “The Rangers Football Club Limited has today served notice on Rangers Retail Limited terminating the IP Licence and Rights Agreement with that company with immediate effect.

“The club now needs to speak to its commercial partners to agree the next steps flowing from the termination and will make no further comment on this matter whilst discussions are ongoing.

“The club will endeavour to communicate further with its supporters and customers for Rangers Kit and other Rangers products as soon as it is in a position to do so.”

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