THE Union of Fans has urged Rangers supporters to boycott club stores and Sports Direct shops in protest at what it argues is an “absolutely disgraceful” retail deal between the Ibrox club and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.
The Union, an umbrella body of Rangers supporters’ organisations, issued a statement on Monday night to reiterate its condemnation of the deal, details of which were made public last week in the accounts of Rangers International FC plc. It argues that the deal is worth disproportionately more to Ashley, who has loaned millions to the club in recent months, than it is to Rangers. And it urges fans to stop buying from the outlets as their loyalty is being abused.
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“Having had the accounts analysed by qualified accountants, we feel it is important to bring Rangers fans’ attention to the disgraceful reality of the retail deal which has been entered into with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct,” the statement says. “Despite the loyalty of the Rangers fans seeing £7.6million spent on retail in the year covered by the accounts, the club’s share of that spending is a paltry £590k.
“The accounts also reveal that Rangers Retail has an obligation to purchase stock at a higher price than it is able to be sold at. In the second half of the year covered by the accounts, it appears that the portion of profit due to the club is an unbelievable £2k. The much maligned JJB agreement, our previous retail deal, made the club a minimum of £4.8m a year, over eight times the amount we are making from Sports Direct. It is also not clear whether the club has yet received a penny of the £590k it is due or whether it is still retained within Rangers Retail.
“In light of the information revealed in the accounts, we urge fans to stop buying merchandise from club stores, which are now under Mr Ashley’s full control or being shut down, and Sports Direct. Your loyalty is being abused and the club is not benefitting from the money you are pouring into Mr Ashley’s pockets.”
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