Rangers say goodbye to Mike Ashley: Club formally gives notice to end relationship with Sports Direct

Joe Hall
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Rangers want to part ways with Mike Ashley's Sports Direct (Source: Getty)

Rangers are looking to bring their tumultuous relationship with Sports Direct to a close by formally giving notice to the Mike Ashley-owned company to end their commercial partnership - yet the two companies could still be tied together until 2023.

In a letter to supporters, club chairman Dave King said he had immediately written to Sports Direct after the retailer dropped its attempt to impose a gagging order on Rangers preventing them from discussing its commercial agreements.

King wrote: "For the first time a board of this club has stood up to the threats of Sports Direct and has achieved resounding success in court proceedings including the substantial recovery of legal costs.

Read more: King slams Sports Direct "agenda" against board

"Sport's Directs motives were severely exposed when a High Court Judge ruled that Sports Direct abused court processes in its attempt to bully the club and me.

"We will continue to put Rangers first and ensure that we get redress and compensation for the poor commercial and business practices that the club has been forced to endure."

Despite owning a nine per cent stake in the club, Ashley and Rangers have suffered a fractious relationship since the Newcastle United owner's associates were ejected from the board by a King-led consortium.

Since then, Rangers shareholders have voted to renegotiate the terms of the deal, under which Sports Direct acquired control of Rangers Retail, its merchandise arm.

Shareholders have argued argue it does not represent good value as the club makes just 4p from every £1 spent on merchandise.

However, the contract Rangers hold with Sports Direct is believed to include a seven-year notice period lasting until 2023.

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