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Rangers FC Give Ladbrokes The Boot

April 15, 2020

- Grant Whittington

Much activity appears to be brewing under the covers at Scottish Professional Football League Club Rangers FC. Not only has the club announced a termination of its commercial in-stadia bet sponsorship partnership with major sportsbetting brand Ladbrokes, citing a further elaboration of its commitment to responsible betting and gambling as the unofficial reason, but the club is now also involved in a mud-slinging argument with the Scottish league itself.

The termination of its relationship with Ladbrokes was communicated by Rangers Commercial Director James Bisgrove by way of an official Rangers statement. The termination will according to Bisgrove’s statement, be terminated at the end of the current season. Ladbrokes currently provide a range of betting facilities at the Ibrox stadium.

Back in 2019 the betting brand chose not to renew its heritage sponsorship contract with the league and at the time said that the refusal to extend is based on its own “wider” corporate responsibility policy called “Change for the Bettor”. And so, the Rangers’ decision to terminate the relationship is in all likelihood a thing of sour grapes.

No More Season Says SPFL

But the real fire under the cooking pot appears to be the decision on the part of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) to prematurely terminate the current season in view current global challenges. The proposal on the part of the SPFL to conclude the current Scottish football season, i.e. 2019/2020 has been heavily criticised by the Rangers. The club on Saturday issued an official club statement reiterating its decision to oppose the closure-of-season proposal on the part of the league, even going as far as describing the proposal as an “abhorrent plan”.

The league is proposing that the 3 final placings be determined on a “points to date” basis so as to determine the outcome for the current season. Club Rangers has however pointed out that not only will such an approach bring about serious implications for all Scottish league football clubs, but that it furthermore smells a rat after having received certain “whistle-blower” facts about the stewardship of voting on the proposed resolution formulated by the SPFL.

A Pretty Useless Vote

Clubs were initially afforded a deadline of 10 April at 5 p.m. for the purpose of entering their respective votes regarding the points-per-game adjudication of the rest of season. This would only apply in the event that the SPFL board determined that the remainder of the season could in fact not be played.

The Rangers are now insisting that SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster be dismissed from his post following failed attempts to discuss the obtained whistle-blowing evidence with Doncaster and the board. Doncaster had apparently initially refused outright to discuss the matter with Rangers’ interim Chairman, Douglas Park. The SPFL then followed up the failed telephonic request to meet and discuss with a watered-down email – an email the Rangers have said they believe to be a cunning disguised attempt to silence all concerns about the initial season-closed proposal. The club has now accused the SPFL of bullying behaviour.

New Focus On Bad Habits

Park has in the meantime said that the apparent lack of leadership on the parts of SPFL members has been nothing other than shocking. He said that critical and important decisions were being taken behind closed doors and without any input whatsoever from clubs at ground  level. This boils down to a lack of proper consideration, said Park.

Park concluded by saying that an undemocratic culture has existed within the ranks of the SPFL for a very long time and that the time has now come to bring the league’s “farcical” conduct into full view out in the open.

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