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Board nominees urge current directors to sign their Rangers constitution

THE four nominees seeking election to the Rangers board at the annual meeting later this month have published a Rangers constitution which includes pledges to retain Ibrox and limit non-executive director pay and expenses.

The four men - Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson - have all signed the constitution, and they have urged the current directors to do the same.

There are eight pledges, which formalise any future board's stance on core principles. They include "ring-fencing Ibrox" and ensuring that future boards can never sell the stadium; that "no director (including his/her family members or close business associates) shall have any financial interest in any contract involving the club; and that "all non-executive director fees are to be waived unless the club is in Europe".

"We drew up the constitution because of feedback from fans and shareholders," said Murdoch. "We've met all of the institutions and most of the rest of the shareholders and there were a lot of questions about Ibrox. As far as our plans are concerned, we would never consider anything like the sale and leaseback of the stadium, there is no way we would ever get rid of Ibrox, it is our spiritual home.

"We wanted to put down some simple commandments which we have signed up to and which we hope the existing board will also adhere to. We're not sure about the chairman [David Somers], and we're certainly not sure about Brian Stockbridge, while the other two [new] directors [Norman Crighton and Graham Wallace] have to prove their independence."

The constitution pledges commitment to "fan representation on the board", an undertaking "to ensure that all executive directors' salaries and bonuses are approved by a Remuneration Committee and subject to market benchmarking", "total transparency in all club affairs", "no long-term debt" and the assurance that "all shareholders are treated equally".

Rangers supporters, who continue to protest against the current board, were angered at the 100% bonus of £200,000 that the finance director Stockbridge took for Rangers winning last season's third division title. There is also concern that most of the money raised in last December's Initial Public Offering of Shares has been spent and Stockbridge's estimate that only around £1m will be left in the accounts come April.

"A number of the institutional investors, as well as some high net-worth Rangers supporters, will invest if there is a clean board at Ibrox," Murdoch said. "We believe [Charles] Green is still in the background pulling the strings. The [AGM vote] is going to be awfully close. We are hopeful, and quietly confident."

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