Advertising watchdog to probe Rangers claim

THE Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) is to review an advert in which Rangers were described as the ‘most successful’ club in Scotland.

The advert described Rangers as Scotland's 'most successful' club. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The advert described Rangers as Scotland's 'most successful' club. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The claim prompted nearly 80 complaints that the advert, which was used to promote season tickets for the Ibrox club, was misleading. Complainants said that the club had only been formed last year when the Sevco consortium, led by Charles Green, bought the assets for £5.5 million but the watchdog had already cleared the advert.

However, former top civil servant Sir Hayden Phillips, who acts as the independent reviewers of ASA decisions said there had been flaws in the way the decision had been taken.

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Sir Hayden took issue with the watchdog’s assumption that the previous operator ‘The Rangers Football Club Plc’ or ‘oldco’, was the same entity as the ‘newco’ club formed by Green.

The Ibrox club claimed that ‘oldco’ entered administration last year but that the business and assets were bought by the ‘newco’ - another coporate entity.

Rangers provided an extract from a decision made by an SPL-appointed independent commission, which The Herald is reporting as saying: “A club is treated as a recognisable entity which is capable of being owned and operated and which continues in existence despite its transfer to another owner and operator.”

A letter from the European Club Association was also produced, which stated that Rangers was, despite being run by a different legal body, the same football club.

Sir Hayden took issue with the fact that the ASA relied on an extract of a report, and warned that there had been a ‘procedural flaw’ as a result, and added that there was a considerable risk of an error of adjudication in the distinction made between ‘club’ and ‘company’.

It was confirmed by the advertising watchdog that the Ibrox club could continue to describe itself as the ‘most successful’ club in Scotland until a conclusion was reached in the review, but a spokesman warned that the original decision could ‘potentially be overturned’.