King vows to hold Sports Di­rect to ac­count for ‘fail­ures’ at Rangers

The Herald - Sport - - FOOTBALL - CHRIS JACK

DAVE KING, the Rangers chair­man, has vowed to en­sure Sports Di­rect are “le­gally and fi­nan­cially held ac­count­able for its fail­ures” af­ter lam­bast­ing the Mike Ashley-con­trolled com­pany. King has hit out at the way Sports Di­rect have acted in re­cent months af­ter Ashley was suc­cess­ful in his bid to si­lence the Rangers board ear­lier this sum­mer.

A High Court in­junc­tion pre­vents King or his fel­low di­rec­tors from dis­clos­ing de­tails about the con­trac­tual ar­range­ments in place be­tween Rangers and the sports­wear firm. But the South Africa-based busi­ness­man has once again crit­i­cised the prac­tices and tac­tics of Ashley, who in June snubbed the Ex­tra­or­di­nary Gen­eral Meet­ing he had called in a bid to force the Light Blues board to re­pay the £5m loan he agreed with the former Rangers regime in Jan­uary.

Ashley has an 8.92 per cent share­hold­ing in Rangers In­ter­na­tional Foot­ball Club plc and con­trol over a num­ber of key as­sets, in­clud­ing Mur­ray Park and Rangers’ reg­is­tered trade­marks. But in March, his al­lies Derek Llam­bias and Barry Leach were voted off the Ibrox board as King, Paul Mur­ray and John Gil­li­gan swept to power. Sup­port­ers con­tinue to boy­cott Sports Di­rect out­lets and of­fi­cial club mer­chan­dise in protest at the way Ashley has con­ducted busi­ness with Rangers.

“Sports Di­rect con­tin­ues to lit­i­gate with the Club in an at­tempt to en­force its wishes and de­mands,” King said. “This seems based on the sim­ple logic that Sports Di­rect can out­spend the Club in le­gal fees and thereby deal with the Club as it pleases. I as­sure sup­port­ers that the Club will not be cowed by this threat and the re­cent lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion [as a re­sult of the gag­ging or­der] be­lies the level of ro­bust­ness with which the Club’s in­ter­est has been and will be pro­tected.

“Fur­ther­more, I have sent let­ters to Sports Di­rect in my ca­pac­ity as a di­rec­tor of Rangers Re­tail Lim­ited tak­ing them to task for poor busi­ness prac­tices and cor­po­rate gov­er­nance fail­ures. The Club be­lieved that it was en­ter­ing into a joint ven­ture with a large pub­lic com­pany that would be­have as a part­ner should.

“In my 40 years of busi­ness I can­not rec­ol­lect hav­ing dealt with a pub­lic com­pany that is run more like a whol­ly­owned fam­ily busi­ness and ap­pears un­con­cerned with other stake­hold­ers – part­ners or oth­er­wise. It re­mains my in­ten­tion to en­sure that Sports Di­rect is le­gally and fi­nan­cially held ac­count­able for its fail­ures.”

KING: Has hit out at Mike Ashley

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