Rangers and cinch row: Another major twist as SPFL responds to Park's of Hamilton with blistering statement

The Scottish Professional Football League says it is looking forward to “setting the record straight” in the wake of a Park’s of Hamilton statement over a row involving the league’s major sponsor cinch and Rangers.

The motor dealership, which is owned by Rangers chairman Douglas Park. hit out at the SPFL in communication issued on Thursday after the league’s governing body reviewed its sponsorship deal with cinch, another car firm, that grants the Glasgow outfit from exemptions from showing its branding at Ibrox and on club attire 24 hours earlier.

A row rumbled on last season between Rangers, cinch, Park’s, the SPFL and even the SFA, with the matter being settled in court in favour of Park’s against the SFA after a request from the SPFL to find a solution.

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There was hope that the revised deal with cinch would put an end to the dispute, but Park’s now claim that the SPFL has insulted them and have demanded an independent investigation.

Rangers chairman Douglas Park.Rangers chairman Douglas Park.
Rangers chairman Douglas Park.

Hot on the heels of Rangers saying the new sponsorship contract “vindicated their stance, an explosive statement from Park’s read: “We were not surprised to learn from the media announcement last night that the SPFL have finally acknowledged Rangers legitimately engaged rule i7 in June of last year and thus, vindicated the stance held by the club for over a year. It is not for us to speculate as to why the SPFL leadership sought to ignore their own rules for so long.

“The fact that the SPFL prevaricated and continued to stall an arbitration process they themselves initiated in August last year, and which was ruled upon by the court of appeal in October, underlined the weakness of the case they truly had.

“Throughout the last year, Park’s have kept their counsel as the SPFL leadership insulted us.

“We have a long standing and proud association with Scottish football, and it was entirely wrong that we were compelled to take the SFA to court because the SPFL decided to abuse the SFA’s arbitration process. We believe that the SPFL and members of its leadership have brought the game in to disrepute and have failed, as have the SPFL as an organisation, to act with the utmost good faith towards their members.

“The SFA must carry out an independent investigation into this issue which has cost all parties involved hundreds of thousands of pounds. Despite being awarded expenses in court, Park’s will not recover all their legal fees nor be compensated for the reputational damage caused by the SPFL.

“Finally, the glaring omission from the SPFL’s statement was an apology. The SPFL leadership owe their members an apology, they owe Park's an apology, they owe the SFA an apology and they also owe an apology to Rangers. Unfortunately, they seem to lack any accountability and would rather spend their members money than admit their failures.”

The SPFL responded by saying: “We note with interest Park’s version of events.

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“We are currently bound by the confidentiality of the legal process. Frustratingly, we have had to keep our counsel throughout. However, we have written to Rangers and Park’s seeking confirmation that this confidentiality no longer applies, following yesterday’s announcement of our revised title sponsorship agreement with cinch.

“If they agree to our proposal we will be able to provide a full and frank narrative to our member clubs. We very much look forward to the opportunity to set the record straight.”

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