Rangers board plays down Mike Ashley's influence as it announces date to vote on Dave King takeover

 
Joe Hall
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Dave King, pictured with former manager Ally McCoist, wants to remove the current Rangers board. (Source: Getty)
Rangers have called a general meeting for 4 March to vote on shareholder Dave King’s requisition to remove the board.
The current Rangers board of four directors including chairman David Somers and chief executive Derek Llambias would be removed if shareholders agree to the resolution put forward by King’s requisition.
Former director King, who owns just under 15 per cent of shares in the troubled Scottish football club, will form a new board with two other directors if his resolution wins at least 51 per cent of shareholders’ votes.
However the current board have warned its shareholders that “there could be a material adverse impact on the Company’s listing on AIM” if King is appointed due to his legal battles with South African authorities over tax.
They argue that the Scottish Football Association's fit and proper person requirement would preclude King and associate Paul Murray from being directors.
Rangers have also taken steps to clarify its relationship with Mike Ashley, whose influence in the club seems to go beyond his 8.96 per cent stake.
The board argue its association with Ashley’s Sports Direct, from which it has received over £10m in loans, provides “short to medium term financial stability”.
After manager Kenny McDowall suggested he had to pick players on loan from Ashley-owned Newcastle United, it appeared the businessman was even influencing team selection.
However the board have played down the level of his input in club affairs:
It is important to note, contrary to media speculation, that neither Mr Mike Ashley nor Sports Direct International plc controls the Company. The Board is grateful for Mr Ashley's support in the past, and hopes that this support will continue. The Company will, however, continue to make decisions independently of Sports Direct International plc but will co-operate with it and its affiliated companies for their mutual benefit.

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