Rangers land court victory in ongoing cinch sponsorship row

Rangers have secured a victory in court over their ongoing row over the SPFL’s £8 million sponsorship deal with online used car retail firm cinch.

Rangers players have been wearing shirts without the cinch Scottish Premiership branding on the sleeve
Rangers players have been wearing shirts without the cinch Scottish Premiership branding on the sleeve

Ibrox chiefs have steadfastly refused to carry the company’s branding on playing kit or on advertising and media boards since the arrangement was struck, insisting that it is in conflict with the club’s existing partnership with the Park’s of Hamilton group, owned by Rangers chairman Douglas Park.

Club chiefs are understood to have voiced their concerns before the contract with cinch was signed by the SPFL, and have cited the SPFL’s own rule 17, stating that clubs are “not obliged to comply with this rule if to do so would result in that club being in breach of a contractural obligation entered into prior to the commercial contract concerned”.

The Scottish Premiership champions are also believed to be unhappy that the SPFL paid out £500,000 over five years to an agency for negotiating the £1.6m-a-year deal.

League bosses confirmed they had “reluctantly” referred the matter to the Scottish FA for independent arbitration, but Park’s of Hamilton were granted an interim interdict at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Monday to prevent this from going ahead.

A spokesperson for Park’s of Hamilton told The Herald: “We can confirm that Park’s of Hamilton Holdings Ltd has today been successfully granted an interim interdict at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, to prevent the SFA from proceeding with its arbitration process in relation to the sponsorship of the SPFL.

“For the purposes of Park's interim interdict application, the Court considered that the failure to include Park's went against the SFA's own rules. This ruling now prevents the SFA from proceeding with an arbitration process without Park’s of Hamilton being involved.

“We were surprised that both the SFA and SPFL vehemently argued against this petition, despite the fact that their rules clearly state that any arbitration process should feature all interested parties.

“Park’s is proud of its association with the SFA and Scottish football, which dates back over 50 years, so it is with regret that we were forced to take this action.

“This is a decision we did not take lightly but felt it had to be made as a matter of principle, to protect the rights of club sponsors throughout all levels of the game.”

A club statement posted on Rangers' official website read: “Today's court ruling once again underlines ongoing concerns regarding the corporate governance and leadership of the SPFL.

“These concerns are shared by many of the SPFL’s member clubs. We have complied with the SPFL’s own rules but today’s court hearing was one that could easily have been avoided if those responsible had adopted a more consensual and less confrontational approach.

“The Executive of the SPFL required to carry out effective due diligence before entering into its contract with the new league sponsor. Instead, an inadequate and antagonistic approach appears to have been adopted; one that it is hard to imagine is in the best interests of the SPFL’s member clubs.”

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