THE ongoing power struggle at Rangers has taken another twist after potential new board members denied agreeing to a “vote of confidence” in the current incumbents as condition of entry to the Ibrox directors’ box.
Rangers confirmed on Wednesday they would consider a request to add former chairman John McClelland and three other men to their board of directors.
A group of disgruntled investors led by billionaire businessman Jim McColl also proposed appointing former director Paul Murray, Sandy Easdale – the brother of current non-executive director James – and accountancy expert Frank Blin as directors.
McColl, chairman of Clyde Blowers, and his group had previously called for an extraordinary general meeting in a bid to have chief executive Craig Mather, finance director Brian Stockbridge and Bryan Smart removed from the board, but it appeared that they had signalled their intention to withdraw that request in the event that the quartet led by McClelland were admitted to the board.
However, the group has now stated that the shareholders deserve the right to vote on the re- election of any director.
In a statement issued to the Stock Exchange on Wednesday, the club said: “The board considers that any decision on any proposal for the withdrawal of the requisition would be subject to the provision by the requisitioners of a vote of confidence and continued support for the current directors and to all necessary regulatory approvals.”
However, a subsequent statement on behalf of McColl’s group released yesterday reads: “On behalf of the requisitionists we have made it clear to the Rangers board that we are proposing the additions to the board now to enable it to operate more effectively as a balanced unit in the run-up to the AGM in October.
“However we have also made it clear that, in accordance with the club’s articles of association, all directors, both existing and new, have to offer themselves up for re-election at a vote at the AGM.
“We believe that this is fair and gives all shareholders the opportunity of voting for who they want on the board.
“We agreed this position with the board on Tuesday and were therefore surprised to see the statement issued by the club on Wednesday night which seemed to suggest that any agreement was conditional on a ‘vote of confidence’ in the current board members now and on a continuing basis.
“We wish to make it clear that this is contrary to our understanding of the agreement we had with the board.
“Whilst we believe that the proposed changes will make the board more effective and balanced, it is for the shareholders to vote on the re-election of all directors at the AGM.”
Meanwhile, former Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas has joined Rangers on trial. Zaliukas, 29, has been without a club since his contract at Tynecastle ended at the end of last season.
The defender missed most of the second half of the campaign with a serious ankle injury sustained during a 3-1 defeat by Dundee United at Tannadice in February. However, he managed to make a farewell appearance as a late substitute in Hearts’ final Scottish Premier League game of the season against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
A move for Zaliukas casts some doubt on Rangers’ pursuit of Bosnian Boris Pandza, although the club stated on their website yesterday that discussions with the defender have been ongoing for several weeks.
“No agreement has been struck there as yet,” said the Rangers website, “and Zaliukas is the player currently being assessed by the Ibrox boss.”