Letter from Ibrox
Rangers demand answers on Cinch sponsorship deal
The title sponsorship deal is the biggest signed by the SPFL
Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson has asked SPFL chief Neil Doncaster to explain why a sponsorship agreement was signed with car dealer Cinch when he knew of the Ibrox club’s opposition to the deal.
The Premiership champions are in an increasingly rancorous dispute with League chiefs after refusing to use the used car company’s branding on their shirts or around Ibrox during the opening day fixture with Livingston.
SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan labelled Rangers’ actions as ‘very disappointing’ amid fears that cinch could tear up the deal, worth £8 million over five years, and the biggest title sponsorship in the league’s history.
Mr Robertson has written to clubs to outline Rangers’ position on the row that has prompted league chiefs to call an emergency meeting to thrash out a resolution.
Rangers insist they are complying with the SPFL rule book (pic: SNS Group)
“For the avoidance of doubt, Rangers continues to comply with the rules of the SPFL,” says Mr Robertson in his letter.
“One of the key rules that protects the commercial interests of all members is [the SPFL’s] Rule I7.
“When the SPFL Executive put forward the written resolution with regards to the new sponsorship contract, Rangers immediately notified Neil Doncaster that, in line with Rule I7, we would be unable to provide the new sponsor with many of their rights due to a pre-existing contractual obligation. We cannot breach an existing contract.
“This is a legal principle which is founded in Scots Law and is the reason that the SPFL has Rule I7 within its rules.
“Rangers has complied with and will continue to comply with the SPFL rules and fulfil all sponsorship obligations which do not conflict with our pre-existing contractual obligations.
“However, this situation has raised some questions which the members may well wish to ask of the SPFL Executive.
“Given the possibility of Rule I7 being relied upon by members, did the SPFL Executive/legal advisors include a clause in the contract with cinch, which allows the SPFL not to provide rights to cinch where members rely upon Rule I7? If not, why not?
“Given that the issue was raised by Rangers (when there is no need under the rules for Rangers to do so) immediately after the written resolution was raised, why did the SPFL Executive proceed to sign the contract when they knew there was an issue and without further checking with Rangers as to its extent?
“Did the SPFL Executive inform cinch prior to the contract being signed that it could not provide all of the rights it was contracting to provide due to SPFL Rule I7?
“It was interesting that the chairman provided the chief executive with the credit for closing the deal when it was introduced to the SPFL by an agency that will receive c.£100,000 pa in fees for each of the five years of the deal.
“That is £500,000 of cash that will be leaving the Scottish game. Is this the best use of Scottish Football’s limited resources? Could this money have been better spent by employing a full-time commercial director?”