Sponsor dispute

SFA urged to rule on Rangers dispute with Cinch

Steven Gerrard at Tannadice with sponsor hoarding (pic: SNS Group)

The Scottish Football Association is expected to intervene in the ongoing dispute over the SPFL’s title sponsorship.

Rangers have objected to the £8 million agreement with online car dealer Cinch, claiming it is in conflict with a current sponsorship deal.

Chairman Douglas Park owns the Parks of Hamilton motoring business which is a rival to Cinch.

The club has refused to display Cinch logos on their shirts in the first two Scottish Premiership games of the season, and there was no branding at Ibrox for the opening day clash against Livingston.

SPFL chiefs fear the stand-off could see Cinch tear up the £1.6 million-a-year deal.

Chief executive Neil Doncaster is under pressure as Rangers claim he was made aware of their concerns before the contract was signed.

The Ibrox club is defending its actions via the SPFL’s own rule 17 which states that clubs are ‘not obliged to comply with this rule if to do so would result in that club being in breach of a contractural obligation entered into prior to the commercial contract concerned.’

Rangers are also unhappy at the SPFL for paying £500,000 over the five years to an agency for brokering the deal.

The Daily Mail reports that the SPFL has now taken the “reluctant” decision to refer to the matter to the SFA for independent arbitration.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan, in an email to member clubs, wrote: “The one SPFL club that has failed to deliver club inventory for cinch is also hampering the SPFL from promoting the SPFL’s relationship with cinch by, for example, refusing to permit cinch-branded interview backboards to be delivered to, or used at, its home ground and to be used for broadcast partner interviews with club representatives at away matches.

“At their opening league match, none of that club’s players wore the cinch branded sleeve patch; there were no LED advertising or static advertising boards with cinch branding allowed in the stadium; and the club concerned also refused to allow the use of the standard SPFL broadcast partner interview backdrop board displaying cinch branding.

“Over several weeks now, your board has sought to engage with the club concerned to find a way through this very serious impasse.

“However, we have been met with a refusal to give the board sight of any pre-existing third-party contract that would prevent the club from providing inventory for Cinch.”

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