SPFL reject Rangers call to remove Murdoch MacLennan

SPFL chiefs at Hampden have hit back at Rangers. Picture: John Devlin
SPFL chiefs at Hampden have hit back at Rangers. Picture: John Devlin
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The Scottish Professional Football League has reiterated its “overwhelming support” for chairman Murdoch MacLennan after Rangers called for him to step down.

Rangers have renewed their complaints over MacLennan’s chairmanship of a company part-owned by Celtic’s biggest shareholder, Dermot Desmond, but the SPFL has stated that it views the matter closed.

Earlier this year MacLennan became chairman of Dublin-based Independent News and Media, a firm which lists Desmond and another Celtic shareholder, Denis O’Brien, as major shareholders.

Rangers had called for an independent investigation into what they claimed was an alleged conflict of interest, but the SPFL insisted there was no case to consider.

In a lengthy statement on the Rangers website, the club said they had been informed that the SPFL board had refused their request for an independent investigation into the situation.

The statement went on: “In the interests of proper governance, transparency and integrity the SPFL should have agreed to an independent investigation of this extremely serious matter and should not have refused to answer all questions and address the genuine concerns put to them in a formal letter by Rangers. Now, however, and because there is no route of appeal against this decision, Rangers is left with no alternative but to call for Mr MacLennan to stand down as SPFL chairman.

“Apart from this being the correct course of action under the circumstances, it would also be the honourable thing to do.

“Rangers believes that Mr MacLennan cannot be considered fit and proper to continue in his role as SPFL chairman as he is now obliged to recuse himself from meetings and decision-making processes which could impact on member clubs.

“The SPFL needs a chairman that can openly participate in all meetings.”

The SPFL, which previously released lengthy defences of MacLennan, responded with a brief statement. A spokesperson for the SPFL said: “We note the contents of Rangers’ latest press release.

“The board has already made its strong and overwhelming support for the chairman very clear and we consider the matter closed.”

Rangers’ statement came in the wake of news that Sports Direct had secured an interim injunction which could delay the club selling their new strip.

Days earlier it emerged that Rangers chairman Dave King had been served with contempt of court papers over his failure to comply with a takeover panel order to launch an offer for the remainder of the club’s shares.