The Scottish Professional Football League has told clubs that it is taking its sponsorship dispute with Rangers to arbitration, and accused the Ibrox club of failing to provide evidence to support claims of a pre-existing deal that prevents it from promoting the new league sponsor.
The Premiership champions and the SPFL have been at loggerheads over the new sponsorship deal for the league, which is claimed to be the biggest in the competition’s history.
Rangers have refused to display any branding or advertising for the sponsor cinch, stating that the deal with the online used car company is in conflict with their own commercial deals.
SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan has previously said that the club’s stance is “very disappointing” and could potentially jeopardise the deal. In response, Rangers chief executive Stewart Robertson has claimed that they made the SPFL aware of the conflict before any deal was concluded, and have asked why it was taken to conclusion when league chief executive Neil Doncaster was aware of of the problem.
MacLennan has now written to all member clubs to say that the conflict was not resolved and accusing Rangers of failing to provide any evidence of a legal or commercial conflict.
He wrote: “Over several weeks now, your board has sought to engage with the club concerned to find a way through this very serious impasse.
“However, we have been met with a refusal to give the board sight of any pre-existing third-party contract that would prevent the club from providing inventory for cinch.
“The refusal by one of our clubs to provide inventory for cinch presents a real and substantial commercial risk to the SPFL – and one which materially threatens the SPFL’s fee payments to all 42 SPFL clubs.
“This is the first time in the history of the SPFL, or the SPL before that, where a club has not provided agreed inventory to the league for use in fulfilling a commercial contract.
“Your board considers it has been left with no realistic option, in compliance with Scottish FA articles, other than to refer this dispute to Scottish FA arbitration. Your board has reached this conclusion with great reluctance.
“However, your board believes that it has a clear obligation to embark upon this course of action to protect and advance the interests of the SPFL and all of its member clubs.”
Disputes between clubs and the league are handled by an independent arbitration panel convened by the Scottish FA.
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