New letter shows depth of SPFL fury at rivals as cash due to Celtic put at risk

By John McGinley

August 9, 2021

The SPFL sponsorship battle with Rangers is set to be ruled on by SFA after the league referred the matter to the governing body, The Daily Record reports.

The league has said in a new letter to clubs that Celtic and the other 41 members of the SPFL are at risk of kissing goodbye to £8m due to Rangers’ stance on the sponsorship deal.

As we’ve discussed previously, the Ibrox side are refusing to display Cinch branding on their strips or inside their stadium, as every other club has done since the deal was struck.

After failing to reach an agreement with Rangers, the SPFL have notified members the issue will now be arbitrated by the Scottish FA.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said, as quoted by The Daily Record: “The one SPFL club that has failed to deliver club inventory for cinch is also hampering the SPFL from promoting the SPFL’s relationship with cinch by, for example, refusing to permit cinch-branded interview backboards to be delivered to, or used at, its home ground and to be used for broadcast partner interviews with club representatives at away matches.

“At their opening league match, none of that club’s players wore the cinch branded sleeve patch; there were no LED advertising or static advertising boards with cinch branding allowed in the stadium; and the club concerned also refused to allow the use of the standard SPFL broadcast partner interview backdrop board displaying cinch branding.

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“Over several weeks now, your board has sought to engage with the club concerned to find a way through this very serious impasse. However, we have been met with a refusal to give the board sight of any pre-existing third-party contract that would prevent the club from providing inventory for cinch.

“The refusal by one of our clubs to provide inventory for cinch presents a real and substantial commercial risk to the SPFL – and one which materially threatens the SPFL’s fee payments to all 42 SPFL clubs. This is the first time in the history of the SPFL, or the SPL before that, where a club has not provided agreed inventory to the League for use in fulfilling a commercial contract. Your board considers it has been left with no realistic option, in compliance with Scottish FA articles, other than to refer this dispute to Scottish FA arbitration. Your board has reached this conclusion with great reluctance.”

Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for cinch

This is clearly a shambolic situation that needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. It feels like Rangers are again playing politics at a time when every penny count for every club in the country.

The pandemic had a big impact on the finances of many clubs, with loans or grants taken from the Scottish Government by every side in the country except for Celtic.

Ultimately it’s set to come to a head via the SFA. But all of this should have been avoided. Clear heads are needed at both the SPFL and Ibrox.

In other news, Kris Boyd forced into Celtic title contenders admission after “unbelievable” Kyogo display.