Glasgow company Greaves Sports have performed a U-turn and are refusing to sell new Rangers kits without the club’s permission.
The firm had earlier said kits would go on sale, but have changed their stance after Puma confirmed new Rangers kits have gone on sale despite the club’s opposition.
Owner Sandy Greaves contacted the Daily Record explain the decision.
He said: “We were planning to sell them in the morning until we read the Record report online. We had assumed Puma and Rangers had an agreement but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“We have decided not to sell the strips until we receive clarification from the club that they are happy.
“We’d do the same for Celtic strips if they were in a similar situation. This is our city, these are our clubs and we have an onus to protect their best interests.”
Puma announced the release of the new home, away and third strips amid calls for a boycott by Rangers’ official fans’ group.
Rangers said on Wednesday they were “surprised and disappointed” that kits had been manufactured for sale amid their ongoing dispute with Sports Direct and its owner, Ibrox shareholder Mike Ashley.
A Puma press release, ahead of Sports Direct stores opening, stated: “We understand the rich heritage that is intrinsic to Rangers Football Club and as the team return to the Scottish Premiership, we wanted to deliver a kit that was worthy of this. With just a few days to go until the season starts we wish the team the very best of luck in what is set to be such an exciting season for both the club and fans.”
A club statement on Wednesday read: “Since terminating the IP licence and rights agreement with Rangers Retail Limited, the club has made its best efforts to engage with Puma on an agreed way forward without the involvement of Sports Direct for the manufacture of replica kits and other merchandise to supporters.
“During discussions it emerged that Puma had manufactured some replica kit after receiving purchase orders directly from Sports Direct and without the prior knowledge or agreement of the club and its directors on the Rangers Retail Limited board, Paul Murray and David King.
“Despite requests to Sports Direct and Puma we have not been able to ascertain full details of this arrangement or to reconcile it with the commercial contracts that were in place between the club and Rangers Retail Limited.
“The club has not been party to discussions on the launch of kit sales by Puma this week. We were first notified of their intentions after close of business on Friday last week.
“We are surprised and disappointed by the lack of consultation with the club and/or supporters’ groups prior to the launch.”
Puma insisted it was releasing replica kits into the market in “full compliance with the sponsorship and licensing agreement” it has with RRL.
A statement issued to Press Association Sport added: “Puma’s agreement with RRL remains in full effect. Accordingly, after taking legal advice, Puma continues to uphold its contract with Rangers Retail Limited and has fulfilled its obligations to manufacture and deliver the kits to the playing and coaching staff, as well as to Puma’s retail customers with the knowledge of all parties, including RFC.”
However, the Club 1872 fans group urged fellow supporters to maintain a boycott of merchandise.
A statement read: “It is absolutely clear from the statement issued by Rangers that the situation regarding official Rangers merchandise has not been resolved to their satisfaction. As a result we would urge supporters not to purchase the official kit from any outlets where it goes on sale.”