Opening day row
Rangers in dispute with SPFL over Cinch snub
Robert Bridge, Cinch chief customer officer, left, with Neil Doncaster
Rangers are in dispute with the SPFL, the game’s ruling body, over the new league sponsor.
The Ibrox club believes the SPFL has undersold the league after online used car dealer Cinch paid £8 million (£1.6 million a year) for five years to take over the title sponsorship of the four divisions from Ladbrokes who reportedly paid £5m over two seasons.
There was no Cinch branding on the sleeves of the Rangers shirts, nor on the hoardings around stadium during the opening day fixture with Livingston. There was no award for “Cinch man of the match” as at all other matches.
Rangers’ chairman Douglas Park owns his own car dealership and, according to the Daily Record, the club believes there are gaps in the contract that means it has no legal obligation to promote the sponsor.
It is the latest in a long series of disputes between Rangers and the SPFL which was formed in 2013 with the merger of the SPL and SFL. Managing director Stewart Robertson – who also sits on the SPFL board – recently accused the league of lacking leadership, underselling the TV rights and not having any sort of plan for how to help improve the country’s best young players.
He said: “There’s several areas where the SPFL could be doing more and could be better.
“When you look at the television deal we’ve got in place with Sky — and Sky are fantastic partners, so no criticism of Sky whatsoever — we have undersold the product.
“We need to market Scottish football in a much better way than we do.
“The SPFL as a league is only getting £25m for 48 league games? How can we say that we’ve sold it well?”
Rangers’ decision not to wear the league patches on the sleeves of their shirts could see them charged with breaching SPFL rule G46, which states: “If so determined by the Board, the shirts of all Players in League Matches and Play-Off Matches shall carry the League logo and/or, the name/logo(s) of the title or other sponsor of the League, on one or both sleeves, as specified from time to time by the Board”.
The Scottish Sun said that “Rangers and SPFL have been in talks over the issue for weeks regarding “the fulfilment of rights obligations”. with Rangers’ lawyers “refusing to back down.”
Announcing the sponsorship deal with Cinch in June, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said it represented the largest title sponsorship deal in the SPFL’s history.
Cinch is also the principal partner of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), while it also has sponsorship deals with Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and rugby union’s Northampton Saints.