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Rangers deal + Celtic in Europe + Olympic Golf

Ibrox pair ready to put pen to paper on new deal

Weir and WarburtonFootball – SPFL: Rangers coach Mark Warburton and his assistant David Weir are to end speculation over their futures by signing new deals to stay on at Ibrox until 2019.

The former Brentford boss has been linked to a string of vacancies in England but will commit to leading Rangers in their first season back in the top flight.

Rangers’s open their campaign with a visit to Motherwell on Saturday in the Scottish League Cup.

More than 40,000 fans have bought season tickets for the Premiership campaign.

Chairman Dave King has insisted that all the club’s trademarks and brands are owned by the club.

He told the club’s website: “All of Rangers trademarks and brands are owned by The Rangers Football Club Limited (TRFC).

“TRFC licenced (licensed) the use of the trademarks and brands to Rangers Retail Limited (RRL) which is the joint venture company between TRFC and Sportsdirect.com Retail Limited that was specially formed to manage the Club’s retail activities.

“The various agreements related to this were put in place by the previous board.”

However, King admitted continuing problems over the arrangement with Sports Direct to sell Rangers merchandise.

He added: “I have sought to understand the circumstances that led to it being formed, the way in which it carries out its business and the manner in which it is governed, both internally and in its dealings with the outside world. It is my duty as a director to understand such matters.

“There are a number of issues that, as my understanding increases, have caused me concern but they must necessarily be dealt with away from the public arena. What I can give assurances on is that I am using my best endeavours to resolve these issues.

“It was certainly a unique experience for me to share a boardroom table with a man called before a Parliamentary Committee to explain his company’s business practices and how that company treats those who work in its business. It was not a long acquaintance as Mr Ashley suddenly resigned rather than work with me and the others on the Board to resolve the issues facing RRL. No explanation has been given for Mr Ashley’s resignation.

“Paul Murray is with me on the board of RRL and we will not abandon our duties to that company. These are now more challenging than ever as RRL has been advised by TRFC that TRFC has terminated the Agreement that permits RRL to distribute, market and supply Rangers products.

“As a director of RRL, I and my colleagues on the board need to carefully analyse and review the circumstances that have led to TRFC terminating the retail arrangements. We also need to consider how RRL should respond to the termination. As you might imagine, most of this has to take place in confidence because of our duties to the Company and out of respect to our business partners and those who supply Rangers products.

“This process is ongoing and hopefully TRFC will soon be in a position to communicate further with Rangers supporters on these issues. I am sorry that I am restricted from saying more at this time.”

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Football – Champions League: Brendan Rodgers hoping he does not succumb to the Celtic’s early round hoodoo when Celtic take on Lincoln Red Imps this evening.

The new Parkhead boss will be looking for a comfortable passage through the second qualifying round tie against the Gibraltan part-timers.

Red Imps beat Flora Tallinn of Estonia to secure book their place in the next round which will be played on the artificial surface at the 2,000-capacity Victoria Stadium.  Kicki-off is 7pm.

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Golf – Olympics: Golf supremo Peter Dawson has criticised the game’s top players for pulling out of the Olympics over the Zika virus.

Jordan Spieth is the latest to withdraw and it means none of the world’s top four will participate after join Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy also refused to play.

Dawson, the president of International Golf Federation, which is overseeing the sport’s return to the Games after a 112-year absence, accused the players of “over-reacting”.

The International Olympic Committee will next year review the continuation of golf although it is already committed to being in the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Speaking ahead of this week’s Open at Troon, Dawson yesterday urged the players to attend in four years’ time.

“I’m hoping that when we come to play in 2020 that the top players do support Olympic golf,” he said.

“I think it’s very important that they do. As I’ve said before, it’s the biggest grow-the-game opportunity available, and we need grow-the-game opportunities. And I can’t think of a better way for players to give back to the game, frankly, than to support Olympic golf.”

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