Rangers could release new kit midway through the season

Rangers captain Lee Wallace models the Puma kit which the club is considering replacing. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Rangers captain Lee Wallace models the Puma kit which the club is considering replacing. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
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Rangers could ditch the controversial Puma strip released without their consent and replace it with a new kit midway through the season.

It is understood that extreme option is among a number of moves Ibrox chiefs are currently exploring following the breakdown of their relationship with the German sportswear firm and Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct empire.

The jersey row was sparked on Wednesday evening when Puma confirmed it had released a batch of kits for sale to Sports Direct and other retailers – despite the club’s objections.

Under Scottish Professional Football League guidelines, Rangers were required to register their colours for the new season by June 1.

They have already worn the 1980s-style royal blue home shirt on four occasions during their Betfred Cup fixtures – but there remains a possibility a new strip could be rolled out before the season is over.

SPFL rule G31 allows for alterations to be made to the designs so long as the “prior approval” of the league board has been granted first.

Rangers would also have to apply to alter the kits lodged with the Scottish Football Association for use in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

However, the SFA handbook does allow for a change, stating: “Exceptionally, a club may, with the approval of the Board, play in colours which are modified from those which have been registered.”

Legal action also remains an option but Rangers want to be sure they are in full possession of the facts surrounding the secretive deals struck between the previous Ibrox regime and Sports Direct before making their move.

Rangers had spent weeks in talks with Puma, who found themselves caught in the middle of Rangers chairman Dave King’s bitter war with Ashley.

But they were dismayed to see the firm reject their compromise attempts and instead side with the Newcastle owner when he requested shipments of the Ibrox club’s new home, away and third kits be delivered to Sports Direct stores across the country.

The website of rival retailer JD Sports is also offering the new designs for sale - although Glasgow-based outlet Greaves Sports say they will not accept orders until Rangers give their blessing.

That looks unlikely, however. In May, Rangers terminated the intellectual property licence and rights agreement it held with Rangers Retail Limited - a joint venture set up with Sports Direct to sell jerseys and other merchandise by former chief executive Charles Green.

King remains angry that his club receive a reported sum of just four pence from every pound spent in Rangers’ club store and supporters group Club 1872 has advised supporters to boycott the strip launch.

Puma, though, insist it is releasing replica kits into the market in “full compliance with the sponsorship and licensing agreement” it has with RRL.

In a press release issued an hour before the kits went on sale, the company stated: “We understand the rich heritage that is intrinsic to Rangers Football Club and as the team return to the Scottish Premiership, we wanted to deliver a kit that was worthy of this.

“With just a few days to go until the season starts we wish the team the very best of luck in what is set to be such an exciting season for both the club and fans.”

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