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Rangers clinch Cinch victory in sponsorship row

Cinch agreed a deal last summer but Rangers refused to display its branding

Rangers have scored a crucial off-field victory after it was confirmed the club will not be forced to promote online car dealer Cinch.

Cinch signed an £8m league title sponsorship last summer, but Rangers refused to show its branding around Ibrox or on team shirts because it clashes with an existing agreement with Park’s of Hamilton.

The SPFL took the matter to arbitration but last night announced a “revised title sponsorship deal” which means Rangers will be the only top-flight club which receives income from the contract without having to carry any Cinch branding.

A Rangers spokesman said: “This is a full vindication of our stance throughout the past season and further highlights wide-ranging concerns regarding the corporate governance of the SPFL.”

The club is expected to issue a more detailed response in the coming days.

It is believed that the row has cost more than £200,000 in legal fees and that Cinch withheld more than £200,000 of its sponsorship payment this year.

Rangers had insisted that before the deal with Cinch was signed it had made the SPFL aware of the conflict of interest covered by Rule I7 of the governing bodies own rules. This states that clubs were not obliged to comply with commercial deals struck by the league “if to do so would result in that club being in breach of a contractual obligation entered into prior to the commercial contract concerned”.

SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster conceded that the revised deal was “extremely good”. He said: “Under the terms of the revised cinch contract Rangers are no longer required to participate by providing the sponsorship inventory that they have so far not provided, whilst, crucially, the overall income to Scottish football is expected to remain materially unchanged over the original five-year term of the sponsorship.

“This revised package has now been approved by Cinch Premiership clubs. It’s extremely good news that we have been able to work with our partners at Cinch to develop an updated sponsorship package which delivers the same level of financial support to Scottish football, whilst providing additional SPFL media assets to cinch to compensate for loss of Rangers related rights.

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“It is testament to the strength of our relationship with Cinch, and the high value they place on it, that they have agreed to move forward with us on this basis. This deal gives us further confidence that we will exceed our budget and deliver fees to clubs of more than £27.5 million for season 2021-22.”

Murdoch MacLennan, chairman of the SPFL, added: “This is a great outcome for the entire game in Scotland. Our friends at cinch have been brilliant to deal with throughout this whole process.

“There is so much to celebrate in the SPFL as cinch and our clubs look forward with excitement to the launch of the 2022/23 fixture list this Friday.”

A spokesman for cinch said: “We welcome the evolution of our agreement with the SPFL and are proud of our continued investment into Scottish football across all four cinch SPFL leagues. We are very much looking forward to next season and to continuing the stellar growth of our business in Scotland.”

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