Scottish Premiership soccer side Rangers have announced a restructuring of their commercial partnership with sportswear retailer Sports Direct.
The new deal between the two is said to be on ‘substantially different terms’ to the previous agreement, and will see Rangers deal directly with the retailer. The previous arrangement was a joint-venture between Rangers, Sports Direct and Rangers Retail Limited, a commercial arm of the club which will now be dissolved.
Mike Ashley, the founder and chief executive of Sports Direct, is also a minority stakeholder in Rangers, but his involvement with the club has proved controversial and has seen many fans boycott buying replica kits, as much of the profits ended up with Ashley and Sports Direct rather than the club.
The new deal, a statement on the Rangers website said, ‘will deliver real value for the club and Sports Direct’.
Rangers ‘will now receive by far the majority of net profits from the retail operations at the Megastore and webstore together with an equal share of all net profits from sales through Sports Direct,’ the statement went on. ‘The club will also obtain a priority dividend on the winding up of RRL.’
According to reports Ashley, who is also the owner of top-tier English side Newcastle United, is looking to divest his 8.92 per cent stake in Rangers.
2016/17 was the Glasgow-based club's first season in the Premiership since their liquidation and relegation to the fourth tier of Scottish soccer in 2012. They finished in third place, almost 40 points behind eventual champions and arch-rivals Celtic.