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Rangers suffers Sports Direct legal blow

Rangers has pledged to “meet any financial award” after a judge ruled that retailer Sports Direct should have been given the opportunity to submit a counter offer to a commercial agreement struck by the Scottish Premiership club.

Judge Lionel Persey ruled that Sports Direct was not treated fairly when the club terminated a merchandise agreement with the retailer and entered into a new arrangement with Elite/Hummel.

The new agreement is reportedly worth £10m (€11m/$12.3m) per year, with the judge stating that Sports Direct’s losses resulting from the contract being curtailed were likely “to be in the order of many millions of pounds”.

The amount of money to be awarded to Sports Direct has not been determined yet.

In his ruling, the judge accused Rangers secretary James Blair of being “untruthful” in his dealings at the time.

In finding that Rangers was in breach of its obligations, the judge said: “I am satisfied that SDIR (Sports Direct) was not only entitled to match the rights offered to Hummel/Elite but would have done so. Those rights were not only not offered to them but Rangers, through Mr Blair, untruthfully asserted that Hummel had not been granted any offered rights and did not provide SDIR with a copy of the Elite/Hummel agreement.”

Sports Direct has also been granted an injunction to the club’s latest agreement.

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, a former Rangers shareholder, struck a deal with the previous board that led to his company collecting about 93p from every £1 made from the sale of strips and merchandise, according to the BBC.

The club said: “Rangers was disappointed by the terms of the recent court judgment but respects the decision of the court and will meet any financial award made by the court.

“No such award has yet been decided and at this stage Rangers does not even know how much will be sought. Contrary to some reports, the judge has not determined that the contractual cap on damages will not apply.

“Rangers would also like to reassure supporters that no steps have been taken to stop supporters being able to buy this season’s replica kits.”