Spfl to hold emergency summit after Rangers sponsor outburst
League bosses will hold emergency talks on Thursday over an escalating crisis with Rangers - after the Ibrox club launched another blistering attack on Hampden’s sixth floor. Record Sport revealed on Tuesday that SPFL sponsors cinch could pull the plug on a new £8m commercial deal after...
League bosses will hold emergency talks on Thursday over an escalating crisis with Rangers - after the Ibrox club launched another blistering attack on Hampden’s sixth floor.
Record Sport revealed on Tuesday that SPFL sponsors cinch could pull the plug on a new £8m commercial deal after the champions refused to display any of their branding during an opening day win over Livingston.
And Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson has doubled down on his position in a letter to Scotland’s other 41 clubs in which he raises a series of concerns about the handling of the potentially explosive controversy.
In his letter Robertson insists that Rangers made it clear they would not be able to honour the terms and conditions of the deal before league chief executive Neil Doncaster put pen to paper on the agreement.
He suggests that Doncaster may have been part of an attempted cover-up ever since the dispute with the online car dealers went public.
And he has accused Doncaster of wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds by hiring an external agency to land the lucrative package in the first place.
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Now we understand his outburst will be discussed at an urgent SPFL board meeting on Thursday - while league chiefs are still waiting for Robertson to provide contractual proof to back up his claims that Rangers are legally obliged not to promote the partnership with cinch.
Robertson’s letter says: “We have been in private dialogue with the SPFL Executive since 8 June on this topic but, given that they have sought to make the issue public, it is appropriate for you to be aware of the circumstances involved.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Rangers continues to comply with the rules of the SPFL. One of the key rules that protects the commercial interests of all members is 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 5 years of the deal.
“That is c.£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?
“I trust that this clarifies the position. Best regards. Stewart Robertson managing director.”
The high profile spat has infuriated a number of top flight clubs who fear the English based firm are on the verge of ripping up a deal worth £1.6m per season over the next five years.
And Record Sport understands cinch have made it clear to the SPFL that they expect the situation to be resolved as a matter of urgency.