Executives of Scottish clubs are asking questions of the SPFL directorate amid the bombshell news that Rangers could be excluded from any future commercial contracts.
The claims come after the SPFL thrashed out a new deal with title sponsors cinch following the Ibrox club’s fully justified refusal to wear the company’s branding on their jerseys due to a clear commercial clash with Park’s Motor Group, a company owned by Gers chairman Douglas Park.
This new arrangement will see Rangers directly benefit from the measly £1.6m per season cinch title sponsorship deal with the Scottish game despite not being required to promote the online used car business.
Now the Athletic and Jordan Campbell have opened on what the deal actually means for Scottish football as the game’s governance comes under increasing scrutiny.
Members clubs have waded through the legalese and shiny press releases to ascertain that Rangers could be excluded from any new commercial deals in Scottish football.
This obviously makes the nation’s game drastically less enticing with the biggest club in Scotland potentially excluded from any potential promotional benefits for would-be partners.
Whilst the SPFL and Neil Doncaster insist cinch have assured them they are unlikely to exercise this right, legal experts believe the wording is as clear as day.
“Perhaps it’s a drafting error as it would be odd for the SPFL to agree to such a demand,” claims an unnamed commercial solicitor speaking to the Athletic.
”The brand exposure that Rangers can bring to the table would be valuable to any prospective sponsor and, arguably, one of the key attractions to getting involved in the first place.
“To lose one of the biggest clubs in the league would not only reduce the value of any sponsorship deal but perhaps result in prospective sponsors not getting involved at all.
“What is clear is that if that wording is contained within the actual agreement, it could give Cinch an opportunity to try and invoke the prohibition regardless of their original intentions.
“I can understand why clubs are looking for clarification as to the position and why Rangers may want to explore their options moving forward.”
Cinch SPFL shambles brings Rangers complaints into focus
This is before we talk about the £500k that was spent securing the cinch deal via a third party, or the £400k that’s been lost as part of the deal being restructured, or the fortune lost pursuing this nonsense case against Rangers despite the fact the Ibrox side made it clear there was a commercial clash.
With the five-year contract worth £8m in total, the Athletic claim over £1m will be lost amid this farcical legal battle with the Ibrox side.
Combine this with the £500k third party fee and the £400k which has been negotiated out of the deal and we’re looking at close to £2m, a quarter of the value of the entire deal
For the bones of £6m, every side must sport the tacky cinch branding on their jerseys and right-thinking people will be subjected to tinpot supporters referring to the nation’s top league as ‘the cinch’ for five long, painful years.
Remarkably, the Athletic story also claims that several clubs have confirmed to them that they were unaware of the cinch Rangers clause when they voted on the updated agreement.
Whether this is because they failed to fully understand the conditions of the contract as is their responsibility, it’s telling that the situation was presented in such a way that this was not completely clear.
The Athletic believe that many rival club executives are claiming “this can’t be right?”. Oh, it’s the SPFL, of course it can be.
All of this is set to come to a head in what will be an explosive meeting between member clubs but it’s been suggested by frustrated supporters that because this involves Rangers, rival fans and clubs are less inclined to rage against the incompetence of the professional members’ body.
Putting aside tribal club loyalties for the good of the Scottish game appears impossible when it involves Rangers and so long as clubs cannot side with the Gers this cartel at the top of the Scottish game will continue to run it into the ground.
There is massive potential in Scottish football and far from utilise it, there’s a growing feeling that Doncaster and co are more concerned with retaining the status quo and their £388k a year salaries.
We as a national game deserve better and just have a read at that Athletic article and try and tell any of us that those currently in charge are the right men for the job.
Well, at least we can rely on the SFA to investigate and uphold the standards of Scottish football. Oh wait, they’re passing the buck too.
Meanwhile, Rangers have been linked with a move for a familiar Croatian face who inflicted a wound on the club last season.