Rangers chairman Dave King slams Sports Direct “agenda” against board but agrees to repay £5m loan to Mike Ashley’s company
Rangers chairman Dave King blasted Mike Ashley's Sports Direct over "incessant litigation" which he says has harmed the club's rehabilitation.
The Ibrox board announced it had agreed to repay a £5m loan from Sports Direct, reversing an earlier decision not to, at the club's annual general meeting in Glasgow.
Speaking to around 1,000 shareholders today, South Africa-based King said the board would "endeavour to repay the loan as long as we could raise the funds to do so".
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Yet King said the board's fractious relationship with Sports Direct, who he accused of "working to an agenda", was hampering the club's hopes of a return to the top of Scottish football.
Ashley, who owns a nine per cent stake in the club, made the £5m loan to Rangers in January when his associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach were on the board.
However, since a consortium fronted by King was voted onto the board by shareholders in March, his relationship with the Scottish giants has soured.
Initially, the new board opted not to repay the loan until Ashley renegotiated his 49 per cent control of Rangers' retail business.
And the club has since been hit with a gagging order by Sports Direct, preventing them from revealing details of their commercial contract.
King told shareholders today:
Sports Direct appears to be working to an agenda which, very clearly, is not assisting our club's full rehabilitation. There is a desire to drag Rangers through the courts and thereby slow our progress rather than seek compromise or fairness…
…The relationship with Sports Direct continues to impact on Rangers but as long as we, all of us, stand united we will succeed in ultimately securing more mutually beneficial partnerships in the future.