Rangers and Mike Ashley in latest round of merchandise deal fight
Bosses at Rangers Football Club are embroiled in the latest round of a long-running High Court battle with Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley centred on merchandise sales.
Lawyers representing a company in the Sports Direct Group say Rangers’ bosses are in breach of obligations under a deal relating to replica kit.
They say SDI Retail Services are having to bring “serial court proceedings”.
Rangers bosses dispute claims made against them.
A judge began to oversee the latest in a series of hearings at the High Court in London on Monday.
Judge Lionel Persey is due to finish analysing evidence later this week.
Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United, was not at the hearing.
Rangers lost a round of the fight in October.
Another judge ruled that Rangers had breached the terms of an agreement made with SDI.
Mr Justice Teare concluded that bosses at Rangers had made a new agreement with another firm without giving SDI a chance to match that firm’s offer.
SDI bosses have subsequently made further complaints about Rangers not complying with commercial obligations.
Barrister Sa’ad Hossain QC, who is leading SDI’s legal team, outlined the history of the dispute to Judge Persey and listed five sets of proceedings.
He said another company was continuing to sell replica kit, contrary to a deal.
“SDI is having to compel Rangers to comply with its obligations through serial court proceedings,” he said.
“Rangers seems unwilling to do so voluntarily.”
Ben Quiney QC, who leads Rangers’ legal team, said “key battlegrounds” revolved around disagreement over the definition of certain commercial “activities”.
He said a main dispute centred on the meaning of “distributing”.
Mr Quiney told the judge: “SDI have put their case too wide and it doesn’t make sense.”