Rangers agree €13million loan deal with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct company

Loan is not secured against Ibrox, but rather against the club’s other holdings

 The cash-strapped Rangers board has agreed a £10million emergency loan deal with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct firm, it has announced to the Stock Exchange. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

The cash-strapped Rangers board has agreed a £10million emergency loan deal with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct firm, it has announced to the Stock Exchange. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

 

The cash-strapped Rangers board has agreed a €13million emergency loan deal with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct firm, it has announced to the Stock Exchange.

Without the injection of fresh funding, the Glasgow club would not have been able to cover pay cheques due to be delivered on Thursday.

The loan will be secured against the training ground, Murray Park, Edmiston House, Albion car park and the club’s registered trademarks – but not Ibrox.

The move spells the end of attempts by the Three Bears group – wealthy fans Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor – to have their own loan offer accepted.

It was their promise to match Ashley’s deal while demanding Ibrox remained unsecured that forced the Newcastle United owner to drop the stadium from the terms of his agreement.

In return for the money – which will be paid to Rangers in two €6.5million tranches – Ashley will be able to nominate two more directors to the club’s board. His associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach are already serving as chief executive and financial director respectively.

As well as that, Rangers will transfer 26% of its holding in Rangers Retail Ltd (RRL).

RRL was a joint venture set up by the club and Sports Direct, with Rangers in control of 51 per cent and Ashley’s company controlling the rest. Fans, however, were already concerned that it was overly beneficial to Ashley.

Now, as part of the new loan deal, the club have also agreed that from the 2017-18 season, for the duration of the loan, any future shirt sponsorship proceeds “will be for the benefit of RRL”.

Ashley has now strengthened his grasp on the money streams entering the club but the balance of power could yet swing away from him in the coming weeks if Dave King succeeds in routing the board at the general meeting he has called.

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