Rangers have been granted unprecedented permission by the Scottish FA to take the SPFL to court as they seek an apology and legal costs over the cinch sponsorship dispute.

The long-running row between the league’s governing body and the Ibrox club stems from the title sponsorship agreement that SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster signed with cinch in June 2021.

Rangers successfully argued that an existing contract agreement they held with Park’s Motor Group prohibited them from providing cinch with advertising inventory, with that contention being ratified between the parties in April last year.

READ MORE: SPFL, Rangers and cinch: The timeline, the row and what happens next

Subsequently, that July, the court of session awarded an interlocuter in favour of Park’s, confirming the legal status of the exclusivity provision in their pre-existing contract with Rangers.

The contract with cinch was then revised to absolve Rangers from any obligation to provide the online car retailer with advertising space at Ibrox, with Doncaster commenting at the time: “Under the terms of the revised cinch contract, Rangers are no longer required to participate by providing the sponsorship inventory that they have so far not provided, whilst, crucially, the overall income to Scottish football is expected to remain materially unchanged over the original five-year term of the sponsorship.”

Herald Sport understands that at the time of the ratification of the Park’s contract, the SPFL indicated they would provide an apology to Rangers and Park’s Motor Group and consider paying the legal expenses incurred by the club in contesting their position.

However, no such apology nor financial compensation has been forthcoming, leading the Rangers board to lose patience with the SPFL, and they are now ready to launch legal proceedings imminently with the blessing of the Scottish FA.

It is understood that if a statement including a formal apology and costs are offered to Rangers, they will be happy to finally draw a line under this particular matter, but such a public climbdown would prove embarrassing to Doncaster and may lead to questions around his handling of the deal from stakeholders.

With legal expenses already running into hundreds of thousands of pounds for both the SPFL and Rangers, the dispute over the deal – worth roughly £1.5m a season - may end up ultimately costing the league a hugely significant portion of that revenue.