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Rangers chief Dave King vows to take Sports Direct to court to recover ‘long outstanding’ payments

RANGERS chairman Dave King has vowed to take Sports Direct to court over ‘long outstanding’ payments as the bitter dispute took another twist.

The Ibrox club was last week told to stump up for Mike Ashley’s legal bill after losing the latest round of a kit sales wrangle.

King has released a statement

Gers are facing costs of up to £400,000 after Sports Direct owner Ashley successfully argued that Gers breached a contract.

But King has now hit back – and insisted Rangers are ready to take legal action to recover monies owed to them.

King said: “In terms of profits from Sports Direct’s sale of Rangers kit under the prior agreement, the club has still not, despite repeated requests, received a proper accounting for the retail activities or payments due under it.

“That certainly does not provide me with any comfort in dealing with Sports Direct as a partner.

Rangers have had a long-running battle with Mike Ashley

“It is solely because of Sports Direct’s refusal or inability to act as expected of a normal commercial partner that Rangers now has no choice but to litigate to secure payments that are due and are long outstanding.”

In a wide-ranging statement, King also challenged Sports Direct to produce evidence that last season’s retail agreement benefited the club.

He added: “In its statement Sports Direct expressed the hope that Rangers will now move on and put in place commercial arrangements with Sports Direct and that this would be for the benefit of Rangers fans and the club.

“There is no mention of what benefit such arrangements might bring to the club and its supporters.

“I challenge Sports Direct to follow up its statement by sharing with Rangers supporters how much last season’s retail agreement benefited the club.”

Mr Justice Teare ruled last week that the Light Blues made a new deal with Elite Group last month to sell jerseys without giving Ashley’s firm a chance to match it.

He ordered the club to pick up Ashley’s costs and said arguments about damages would be heard at a later date.

A Sports Direct spokesman said: “It is regrettable that we have yet again needed to resort to legal action to force Rangers to honour promises.

“We hope Rangers will now move on and put in place commercial arrangements with Sports Direct, for the benefit of the Rangers fans and the club.

“Rangers entered into these arrangements and must honour them — despite what they may have said publicly in the past.”

The High Court in London heard Sports Direct had shelled out £280,000 on lawyers while Rangers’ briefs cost £147,000.

But the judge said a detailed assessment would be needed before Rangers pay the full amount, as it might be argued Sports Direct’s bills were “possibly unreasonably high”.

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Sports Direct had been granted an interim injunction on the sale of Rangers merchandise and have continued to sell the club’s branded goods.

The parties reached an out-of-court settlement in July.

The Glasgow giants also paid out £3million last year to renegotiate a previous contract with Ashley’s firm.

Sports Direct has been contacted for comment.

Dave King statement in full:

I note with interest Sports Direct’s press statement following Wednesday’s court judgment.

I also note Sports Direct’s failure when it went back to court on Friday, October 26, in an attempt to extract from the court a more favourable interpretation of Wednesday’s judgement than was clearly warranted by the court’s narrow ruling.

In my view, this failure was another significant setback for Sports Direct – it clearly misunderstood the impact that Wednesday’s ruling would have on the club when making its statement.

In its statement Sports Direct expressed the hope that Rangers will now move on and put in place commercial arrangements with Sports Direct and that this would be for the benefit of Rangers fans and the club.

There is no mention of what benefit such arrangements might bring to the club and its supporters. I challenge Sports Direct to follow up its statement by sharing with Rangers supporters how much last season’s retail agreement benefited the club.

In terms of profits from Sports Direct’s sale of Rangers kit under the prior agreement, the club has still not, despite repeated requests, received a proper accounting for the retail activities or payments due under it.

That certainly does not provide me with any comfort in dealing with Sports Direct as a partner.

It is solely because of Sports Direct’s refusal or inability to act as expected of a normal commercial partner that Rangers now has no choice but to litigate to secure payments that are due and are long outstanding.

My advice to Sports Direct is that whatever short-term success it might enjoy through its courtroom manoeuvrings will not affect my resolve, nor that of RIFC’s other investors to ensure the best deal for the club and its supporters.

We continue to show the resolve we have demonstrated over the last three years in resisting all attempts by Mike Ashley and Sports Direct to take further advantage of our club.

As in previous litigation, Sports Direct’s urgent court injunctions will always be complied with – but will not be the final word.

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