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SBD Global/May 8, 2014/Franchises

Scottish Rangers Warn Former Director Club Will Never Give Ibrox Up To Him

The war of words of the Scottish Rangers' future continues.
Scottish League 1 Rangers told former Dir Dave King they will never "give up Ibrox to him or any supporters’ group," according to David McCarthy of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. The club "came out fighting" after a bid by King and the Union of Fans to "get control of the stadium by setting up a fund for punters to deposit season ticket money." And the Rangers board "gave their full backing to under-fire" CEO Graham Wallace "amid a row over his bonus." King, former Rangers player Richard Gough and the Union of Fans "have set up a new company -- Ibrox 1972 Fund -- for supporters to put their season ticket money in." This "would be handed to Rangers when security over Ibrox is granted to them." But "in a furious attack, the board described the fund as 'worthless and meaningless' -- and they warned King and Co that Ibrox was 'sacrosanct.'" Ibrox bosses "also told existing season ticket holders they will lose their seats if they don’t renew by May 16" (DAILY RECORD, 5/7). In London, Mark Walker noted the board said, “Any supporters considering engaging with Ibrox 1972 should be clear that as the Club will not grant security over Ibrox to any such organisation, there is no prospect that any commitment to this new scheme will ever come to fruition and is therefore entirely meaningless. It is also important to note that should existing season ticket holders choose not to renew by the 16th May deadline, as is being encouraged, they could lose their seat allocation. Any decision not to renew season tickets can only damage the Club. Such action would only serve to harm the very institution that is so dear to all of us." That "prompted the UoF to dismiss the response as scaremongering." They added, “Their latest ‘give us your money or the seat gets it’ ultimatum is just another in a long line of misjudgements this board has made about the mood amongst the support in general. The fact that those now in the crosshairs of this board are a lifelong Rangers fan who has ploughed millions of his own money into the club with no return, an iconic captain from one of the club’s most successful ever periods and a group of Rangers fans attempting to secure the home of our football club, says more about this board than we ever could" (LONDON TIMES, 5/7). In London, Roddy Forsyth reported former Rangers Manager Alex McLeish "called upon the club to come to an accommodation'' with King. McLeish was back at Ibrox "to publicise the Tesco Bank Football Challenge." As 300 children "savoured a view of the stadium" from the pitch, however, McLeish "spoke of his fears for the club and his incredulity at the scale of the losses" posted since Rangers emerged from administration in '12. McLeish: “It’s absolutely staggering. I’m still trying to work it out. The £70 million -- where has it gone? Tell me. It’s not going to be £70 million’s worth of wages is it?" (TELEGRAPH, 5/6). The Glasgow EVENING TIMES reported former Commercial Dir Imran Ahmad, whose employment was terminated last year, "is suing Rangers Football Club Ltd" for £500,000 ($848,000). Following the launch of a fan campaign to withhold season ticket money from the club, Ahmad sought to have £620,000 ($1.1M) of the club's cash "ring-fenced." A judge said that on the basis of the information put before him "it could not be said that, as matters stand, there is a real possibility the Ibrox club will be practically insolvent early next year" (EVENING TIMES, 5/7). STV reported Ahmad "maintains he is entitled to five per cent of commercial contracts negotiated by him subject to written approval from the chief executive officer or chairman." Judge Lord Armstrong said that he was "persuaded it could not be said there was a real possibility that in early 2015 there would be a risk that Rangers would be practically insolvent." He rejected Ahmad's case, the "second time a ringfencing bid brought by him against Rangers has been dismissed" (STV, 5/6).
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