Bosses at Rangers Football Club are preparing for another High Court battle with Sports Direct and Newcastle boss Mike Ashley over the rights to sell the club's merchandise.

Three months ago, a judge ruled that Rangers' bosses had breached the terms of an agreement made with a company in the Sports Direct group.

The issue at stake was whether Rangers were free to do retail deals with third parties.

Mr Justice Teare concluded in October that Rangers had made a new non-exclusive agreement with another firm, the Hertfordshire-based football merchandising firm Elite Group, without giving Sports Direct managers a chance to match that company's offer.

He granted an 'undoing' injunction that curbed the club's retail partnership with Elite.

And he said that the club would pick up all lawyers' bills during the latest case following a further assessment. Sports Direct were said to have spent around £280,000 while Rangers's costs were at £147,000.

Rangers argued that the injunction should not have been granted because Sports Direct had allowed the club to grant non-exclusive rights to third parties.


Now Sports Direct bosses have made further complaints relating to other agreements involving Rangers and Elite and Rangers and Hummel.

Read more: Rangers back in court in latest kit row with Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley

Rangers bosses dispute claims made against them and a judge is scheduled to analyse evidence at a High Court trial in London on April 12.

A judge is expected to make decisions about any damages Rangers might have to pay after that trial.

Judge Lionel Persey on Friday made rulings on a number of legal issues in the latest round of the litigation following a preliminary hearing in January.

He heard that further lawyers' bills running into many hundreds of thousands of pounds were like to be run up by the time the trial ended.


The judge said Sports Direct alone were budgeting for more than £400,000.

Mr King made a personal response in October after Sports Direct called on Rangers to "accept the outcome and move on" and put in place commercial arrangements which would be for the benefit of Rangers fans and the club.

Rangers declined to comment on the latest development.

The court previously heard that litigation between Rangers and Sports Direct had resulted in a retail agreement in June, last year which granted Sports Direct rights to manufacture, sell and distribute Rangers branded football kits and other merchandise.

The judgment at the High Court in London reveals that the June agreement granted the Sports Direct subsidiary, SDI Retail Services Limited, the exclusive right to operate and manage retail operations and the non-exclusive right to manufacture branded products.

A clause in the agreement stated: "Rangers shall not do, nor grant any rights to any third party to do, anything that would conflict with [the Sports Direct subsidiary's] rights to use and exploit the Rangers rights in accordance with this agreement."

The court heard that bosses at Rangers wanted to sign a new deal with Elite but there was an objection and Sports Direct wanted the chance to match any new offer.


Mr Justice Teare agreed to an injunction put forward by Sports Direct to halt the Elite agreement.

Sa'ad Hossain QC said that the injunction should be granted because Rangers' breach had "caused harm" to Sports Direct.

After the hearing Rangers chairman Dave King warned of further court action to secure payments he claimed was still owed under a past retail agreement with Mike Ashley's Sports Direct.

He warned that court injunctions won by Mr Ashley affecting the current rights to sell club merchandise "will not be the final word".


Clauses in the agreement relating to merchandise rights.

3.1 Rangers hereby grants SDIR the following rights (together with the rights to sub-license such rights within the SDIR Group) in the Territory for the Term:

3.1.1 the exclusive right to operate and manage the Retail Operations;

3.1.2 the non-exclusive right to perform the Permitted Activities in relation to the Branded Products, Replica Kit and Additional Products;

3.1.3 the non-exclusive right to manufacture (and/or have manufactured) the Branded Products;

3.1.4 the Ancillary Rights; and

3.1.5 the non-exclusive right to use the Rangers Brands and the Rangers IPR as may be required in connection with the exercise of its rights under clauses 3.1.1 to 3.1.4 (inclusive)..

3.2 Rangers shall not operate or manage, nor grant any third party any rights to operate or manage on its behalf, the retail sale of Branded Products, Replica Kit and/or Additional Products at bricks and mortar stores or online in the Territory during the Term.

3.3 Rangers shall not do, nor grant any rights to any third party to do, anything that would conflict with SDIR's rights to use and exploit the Rangers Rights in accordance with this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, the granting of non-exclusive rights to third parties to carry out activities in areas where SDIR's rights are non-exclusive (and the exercise of these rights) shall not be deemed to conflict with SDIR's rights to use and exploit the Rangers Rights in accordance with this Agreement.