The SPFL have announced that Rangers will no longer be expected to take part in the cinch sponsorship deal after a rumbling dispute last season.
Rangers and the game’s professional members’ body were at loggerheads for the entire campaign due to the Ibrox club’s refusal to sport any branding from the used car company.
This was due to a conflict of interest with Park’s Motor Group, which is owned by club chairman Douglas Park.
In a grovelling statement, the SPFL insist the renegotiated deal with cinch will have a material impact on the rest of the clubs.
“Under the terms of the revised cinch contract, Rangers are no longer required to participate by providing the sponsorship inventory that they have so far not provided, whilst, crucially, the overall income to Scottish football is expected to remain materially unchanged over the original five-year term of the sponsorship,” said chief executive Neil Doncaster.
“This revised package has now been approved by cinch Premiership Clubs.
“It’s extremely good news that we have been able to work with our partners at cinch to develop an updated sponsorship package which delivers the same level of financial support to Scottish football, whilst providing additional SPFL media assets to cinch to compensate for loss of Rangers-related rights.
“It is testament to the strength of our relationship with cinch, and the high value they place on it, that they have agreed to move forward with us on this basis.
“This deal gives us further confidence that we will exceed our budget and deliver fees to Clubs of more than £27.5 million for Season 2021/22.”
Rather incredibly, this means the current regime of the SPFL has technically negotiated a contract which excludes the biggest and most widely supported club in the country, against a backdrop of increasingly petty soundbites and disputes.
Rangers force SPFL to change cinch contract but competence questions rage
Rangers had insisted they had made clear the conflict prior to the deal being signed, but the SPFL signed it anyway, before criticising Rangers for refusing to promote cinch.
This is objectively a negligence of duty to one of the organisation’s member clubs.
The entire thing also comes against a backdrop of Rangers criticism against the current regime in charge of the SPFL.
The likes of chairman Murdoch MacLennan and chief executive Neil Doncaster have come in for criticism from Rangers, with a request to have the latter suspended culminating in one-third of the nation’s clubs voting against the current SPFL regime in a tense poll driven by pressure from Rangers.
This came after the end of season voting shambles in 19/20 which saw Celtic awarded a league they technically did not win, teams relegated and Dundee’s “lost vote” changed in suspicious circumstances.
On top of this, Rangers have been highly critical of the commercial operations behind the nation’s game with a feeling Scottish football is failing to market the game properly and sign commercial deals which represent value for money.
The cinch deal is worth £8m over five years, or £1.6m per season, to be shared amongst 42 member clubs.
In contrast, cinch have paid to sponsor the sleeve of Tottenham Hotspur, one singular club south of the border where sleeve sponsorship has been reported to top £10m.
All of this has happened whilst Neil Doncaster continues to bank a salary of £388k per annum – more than the winner of the Scottish Cup stands to bank.
Rather incredibly, vexatious tabloid media also ran a serious of stories attempting to smear Rangers in the aftermath of this, despite the due diligence the club had obviously underwent before resisting the deal.
It was even claimed that SPFL clubs were considering a class action against Rangers if the Ibrox side had won the Scottish Premiership, with cinch considering ripping up the contract if this had happened.
This is a serious claim that has wide-reaching implications regarding parity of treatment both on and off the pitch, something which has gone unanswered in the aftermath of this announcement.
Nonetheless, Rangers have been proven right to stand up for their interests and perhaps some of those clubs who sided with the SPFL are reconsidering their decisions as we speak.
Now we await the outcome of the seemingly independent Deloitte review into SPFL finances by a group of member clubs which does not include Rangers or Celtic.
Meanwhile, a reported £19m ex-Ibrox star has been named on prestigious shortlist amongst some of the world’s top talents.