Date set for Mike Ashley SFA disciplinary

Mike Ashley. Picture: PA

Mike Ashley. Picture: PA

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THE Scottish Football Association has set a March 2 date for a hearing into disciplinary charges against Rangers shareholder Mike Ashley.

The Newcastle owner faces two charges relating to his dual interests and a procedural hearing at Hampden on Tuesday set the date for the full hearing.

A separate hearing into three charges against Rangers will be heard on March 16.

Ashley, whose grip on the Ibrox club was strengthened on Tuesday by a new loan deal, was accused on December 15 of not acting in the best interests of football and of breaching a rule relating to holding power over two clubs.

The Sports Direct founder was recently refused permission by the SFA to extend his Ibrox shareholding to almost 30 per cent, having signed an agreement that limits him to 10.

His two close business associates, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach, recently joined the Rangers board but face being voted off in a general meeting called by shareholder Dave King.

Vote

Llambias, Leach and their fellow Rangers directors have come under increased criticism since announcing the loan from Sports Direct, to the extent that the club’s own internal fans group has issued a vote of no confidence in the board.

The 12-strong fans board, which was set up by former chief executive Graham Wallace in a bid to appease discontent among the support, accused the Rangers directors of failing to engage with it.

A statement read: “While the Rangers Fans Board (RFB) do not represent shareholders, we do have the remit to represent the views of the Rangers fan base to the board of Rangers Football Club.

“Sadly in recent weeks the board have failed to communicate with the RFB in any meaningful way during this time of great concern for Rangers fans.

“This very little communication has led the RFB to believe the board has no desire to engage with the Rangers fans base.

“From this, and the fact that the board don’t even have the courtesy to communicate with the RFB or any other fans groups, we, the members of the RFB, cannot support the board.”

Ashley’s latest move to strengthen his power at Ibrox came through Sports Direct, which will give the club two loans of £5million each in return for an extra 26 per cent of Rangers Retail - giving it more than three-quarters of the business - as well as shirt sponsorship income from the summer of 2017, two representatives on the board, and security over assets including Murray Park training ground.

A £6.5million loan offer from the Three Bears - shareholders Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor - was rejected after they refused to promise not to vote for King’s resolution to remove James Easdale from the board.

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