Court rules Mike Ashley can continue Rangers damages claims

Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley. Picture: PA
Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley. Picture: PA
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Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has won the latest round of a High Court fight with Rangers over a merchandise deal said to result in the Glasgow football giant getting about 7p of every £1 spent.

Bosses at a company within the Sports Direct group say Rangers’ directors wrongly terminated a deal through which branded products, including kits, were sold, and want damages.

Rangers’ directors dispute their claim and wanted a judge to call a halt to the litigation.

Deputy High Court Judge Richard Millett has decided Mr Ashley should be allowed to continue with the damages claim.

He announced his decision in a written ruling on Friday after analysing competing arguments on whether litigation should stop at a High Court hearing in London.

The judge gave no date for the next hearing.

In May, Rangers’ directors said they were going to rip up contracts held with a merchandise company, Rangers Retail, they ran with a Sports Direct firm.

The deal had been agreed by former chief executive Charles Green.

Rangers chairman David King, who took control nearly two years ago, and other directors were unhappy with the arrangement.

William McCormick QC, who led the Rangers’ legal team, told Judge Millett supporters were also upset.

He said fans became angry after learning the club only got about 7p of every £1 spent and had staged a merchandise boycott.

Mr McCormick said fans thought Mr Ashley pocketed too much of their money.

He said there was a widespread view that no ‘’self-respecting’’ Rangers’ supporter wore a replica shirt.