Rangers launch legal bid against ex-directors & Mike Ashley

The Ibrox club have sought legal action against a number of individuals. Picture: John Devlin
The Ibrox club have sought legal action against a number of individuals. Picture: John Devlin

RANGERS have launched a new multi-million pound legal action against a number of the club’s former directors and billionaire businessman Mike Ashley.

Lawyers acting for the recently promoted Ladbrokes Premiership side allege that Charles Green, Imran Ahmad, Brian Stockbridge and Derek Llambias acted negligently during their time at the club.

The Glasgow team believe the men didn’t act in the business’s best interests when they negotiated commercial deals with Ashley’s Sports Direct.

The deals which the club are objecting to include an October 2012 agreement in which the directors allowed Sports Direct to have the ‘naming rights’ to Ibrox stadium.

Rangers believe that the naming rights were given to Sports Direct at a price well below their true market value.

In November 2014, the club also entered into a Partnership Marketing Agreement with Sports Direct which allowed the business advertising space at Ibrox stadium.

The club’s current management believe that the deal was also arranged at a price well blow its true market value.

They also believe that Mr Ashley unfairly benefited and assisted from the alleged negligence displayed by Mr Green and his colleagues.

Now Rangers are suing Mr Green, Mr Ahmad, Mr Stockbridge, Mr Llambias, Sports Direct and Mr Ashley in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The Ibrox club hope to recover a total of £4,106,470.83 from the action. They also want a civil judge to declare the Partnership Marketing Agreement void.

The action came to light following a short hearing at the Court of Session on Friday.

Advocate Craig Sandison QC, who was appearing on behalf of Sports Direct and Mr Ashley, succeeded in his attempt to get Rangers to disclose documents to them.

The lawyer argued that Sports Direct and Mr Ashley needed access to the documents to help them prepare for the case.

Judge Lord Boyd agreed with Mr Sandison’s submissions and allowed both Sports Direct’s and Mr Ashley’s lawyers to access the documents.

He added: “I am content to allow the motion.”

The action is concerned with the alleged actions involving the club’s former Chief Executive Charles Green, Commercial Director Imran Ahmad and its former finance director Brian Stockbridge.

The club is also concerned with the alleged conduct of Mr Green’s replacement as chief executive Derek Llambias.

Lawyers acting for the side alleged that the directors didn’t negotiate the best possible deal when dealing with Mr Ashley and Sports Direct.

The club’s legal team believe Mr Green, Mr Ahmad and Mr Stockbridge breached their “fiduciary” duties when they negotiated the “naming rights” for Ibrox stadium.

The club claim the businessmen sold the naming rights for £1 and they say the true market value for the deal was at least £500,000 per year.

The agreement was in existence for approximately two years but was never enacted.

The directors who negotiated the deal claim that they didn’t do anything wrong. They say that if another company made a rival offer, Mr Ashley’s firm would have to make another offer at a competitive price to retain the rights.

Rangers also object to the Partnership Marketing Agreement which was agreed in November 2014. This allowed Sports Direct to secure advertising space at Ibrox. Lawyers acting for Rangers claim the advertising space was a sold for £1 and this wasn’t the true market value for the deal, and that Mr Llambias agreed the agreement with Sports Direct should go ahead.

Rangers claim that Mr Ashley “assisted” in the breach of the “fiduciary duties” owed by the directors to the club.

Lawyers acting for the individuals being sued by Rangers deny any wrong doing.

The case will next call before the court sometime in the near future.

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