Rangers shareholders back board over Sports Direct loan

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley's request for Rangers to repay a £5m loan immediately has been rejected

Just over half of Rangers' shareholders have voted against the immediate repayment of a £5m loan provided by Mike Ashley.

The Newcastle owner, who also has a 9% stake in the Scottish Championship club, called Friday's extraordinary meeting at Ibrox.

Meanwile, shareholders voted in favour of a board resolution to renegotiate existing retail agreements with Ashley.

His Sports Direct firm currently owns 75% of the club's retail operation.

This will be adjusted down to 49% upon repayment of the loan and Ashley had insisted this was the best way for the club to restore some of their retail income.

Rangers shareholders
Shareholders gathered at Ibrox on Friday

However, Rangers' board had asked shareholders to reject Ashley's resolution and proposed the renegotiation of the commercial deal.

Of the 78% of shareholders who took part, 53.64% voted against Ashley's request and 62.5% voted in favour of the board's resolution.

The English businessman was not represented at Friday's summit at Ibrox and Rangers chairman Dave King was also absent.

In March's EGM, Ashley and Sports Direct associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach were voted off the board with King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan winning shareholders' backing to form the basis of a new board.

Rangers were subsequently delisted from the Alternative Investment Market and, as part of his resolution, Ashley wanted an explanation.

Director Paul Murray said at the EGM that Rangers were hoping to be listed on the ISDX stock exchange.

However, he and the other club board members present were prohibited from discussing the specifics of Rangers' retail deal with Sports Direct after Ashley's company won a court decision before the EGM.

Since the EGM, Rangers have appointed Mark Warburton and assistant David Weir as their new management team.

They will attempt to win the club promotion in the coming season, with Rangers having lost in the Premiership play-off final against Motherwell at the end of Stuart McCall's brief time in charge.