Rangers and Sports Direct back at High Court over merchandise deal

Rangers and Sports Direct back at High Court over merchandise deal

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Bosses at Rangers Football Club are embroiled in a fresh merchandise deal row with Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, less than three months after a High Court judge said both sides should “try to make peace”.

In a High Court hearing in London in late July, Mr Justice Phillips was told a dispute over the terms of the deal had been settled. But lawyers representing the two sides were back at the court on Wednesday after Mr Ashley complained of a breach of contract by Rangers.

Bosses at Rangers dispute the complaint. Mr Justice Phillips heard in July how a deal, which allows a company in the Sports Direct group to sell replica Rangers kits and other branded products, was expiring.

He had been told bosses at Rangers wanted to sign a new deal with a third party, but SDI Retail Services executives objected and said they should have a chance to match any new offer. The judge had been due to analyse evidence about the meaning of a contract clause at a trial.

But lawyers representing both sides told him out-of-court agreements had been made.
The judge said Rangers had accepted claims made by SDI bosses.

He said Rangers and SDI were negotiating another deal, and added: “I would really have thought the time has come to try to make peace.”

The judge was told more than £500,000 (€570,000) had been spent on lawyers, with SDI running up legal costs of £350,000 (€400,000) and Rangers £185,000 (€210,000).

Mr Justice Phillips said Rangers’ bosses should pick up the vast majority of SDI’s legal bills as well as paying their own fees, adding SDI was “entitled to the costs”.

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