The Rangers boardroom struggle is set to move into the courts after the club confirmed it had received notice of a petition to force a vote on installing new directors.
The club made an announcement to the London Stock Exchange saying that former chairman Malcolm Murray and former oldco Rangers director Paul Murray had filed a notice with the Scottish Courts to order notice of the proposed vote to be distributed to shareholders.
The case could be heard in the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Friday.
A group of shareholders, who are concerned with the way Rangers are being run, had earlier seen the club dismiss a request for a vote to install both Murrays plus Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson as directors.
The Rangers statement announced that the request, which follows months of wrangling over proposed boardroom change, was received from shareholders representing 5.03% of voting rights of the company, Rangers International Football Club plc.
The board claimed some of those notices had not been validly executed while it had been unable to “properly validate” the remaining notices.
The statement continued: “The board therefore confirms that the notices are not valid.
“The board further notes that on 4 October 2013 the company received notice of a petition filed in the Scottish Courts by Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Ian Cormack, John Graham and Colin Howell representing 0.71 per cent of the voting rights of the company (the “Individual Shareholders”).
“The petition requests an order to be granted by the court, inter alia, to require the company to circulate the notices to shareholders and not to hold the annual general meeting of the company for 2013 until such time as the Individual Shareholders have received 21 clear days notice of any such annual general meeting and the notices have been circulated.
“The board offered to meet with the Notifying Shareholders to discuss their concerns but had not received a response. The board then received notice of the petition. Whilst the company intends to strongly resist the petition the board intends to take all possible steps to avoid unnecessary cost and disruption to the company.”
Earlier this week, Rangers announced an October 24 date for their AGM following the publication of annual results which revealed an operating loss of £14.4million.
The results sparked a public dispute between the board and Malcolm Murray after chief executive Craig Mather and finance director Brian Stockbridge both accused the former chairman of being responsible for setting directors’ pay, which has come under heavy criticism. Mather’s predecessor, Charles Green, received a £933,000 pay package for less than 12 months’ work while finance director Stockbridge doubled his salary with a £200,000 bonus.
Murray insisted he had struggled to get directors’ remuneration reduced amid “severe resistance” during his time as chairman, which ended in April.
The board responded by accusing Murray of making “grossly misleading statements” and of damaging the club but the former pension fund operator stood by his claims on Thursday night.
He told Press Association Sport: “I made a statement yesterday of factual accuracy.
“I’m disappointed by the aphorisms in the RFC official statement. But I have been encouraged by shareholders and fans alike to pursue this course of action and I will continue to do so.”