Mike Ashley ordered to pay Dave King and SFA legal bills

Mike Ashley tried to challenge the SFA's ruling that Dave King was a "fit and proper" person. Picture: Getty
Mike Ashley tried to challenge the SFA's ruling that Dave King was a "fit and proper" person. Picture: Getty
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BILLIONAIRE businessman Mike Ashley has suffered another setback in his battle with Rangers after a civil judge ruled the Newcastle United owner has to pay the SFA’s legal bills.

The Sports Direct supremo’s lawyers were told yesterday that the their client will have to pay the footballing watchdog’s costs and those of Dave King.

The entrepreneur had abandoned a judicial review at Edinburgh’s Court of Session.

Mr Ashley had wanted judge Lord Bannatyne to overturn the SFA’s decision to class Rangers chairman Dave King as a “fit and proper person” to be involved in football. He dropped the action in April 2016, however, shortly after receiving information about Mr King’s finances. The information had been used by the SFA in their May 2015 deliberations and Mr Ashley’s decision to stop the action came on the first day of proceedings.

Ashley’s legal team argued that he shouldn’t have need to pay the football watchdog’s costs. The usual legal convention is that the side who loses a civil case are the people who meet the costs.

His advocate Craig Sandison QC argued that an exception to the convention should be made in this particular case.

He told the hearing that if Mr Ashley had been given the information at an earlier stage, he would not have gone to the Court of Session.

However, Lord Bannatyne disagreed with the argument.

In a written judgement issued yesterday, the judge ruled that Mike Ashley should meet the costs incurred by the action.

He wrote: “On the primary issue argued before me regarding the awarding of expenses, I am clearly of the view that the petitioners’ argument should be rejected.

“I am persuaded that there is no proper basis for not following the normal rule that expenses should follow success.

“Where a party seeks on the morning of a first hearing to have the action dismissed then that party in my opinion must be held to have been unsuccessful.

“It cannot be said that in these circumstances the respondent and interested party have been other than successful in their defence of the petition.

“The argument put forward by Mr Sandison that the circumstances herein justified an exception to the normal rule was in my opinion misconceived.”

The latest decision comes just weeks after fellow Court of Session judge Lord Brodie had ruled the SFA were correct to fine Mike Ashley for breaking ownership rules.

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