The Rangers is pulling the plug on a clothing joint venture with retail tycoon Mike Ashley, who has a shareholding of nearly 9 per cent in the Scottish football club.

Mr Ashley’s Sports Direct chain owns 49 per cent of Rangers Retail, a company set up to sell the club’s official merchandise, reports Mark Vandevelde in London.

But the Rangers said on Wednesday that it was looking to end the licensing agreement that gave the jointly owned company permission to use its insignia.

The club said in a statement:

The Rangers Football Club Limited has today served notice on Rangers Retail Limited terminating the IP Licence and Rights Agreement with that company with immediate effect.

The Club now needs to speak to its commercial partners to agree the next steps flowing from the termination and will make no further comment on this matter whilst discussions are ongoing.

The Club will endeavour to communicate further with its supporters and customers for Rangers Kit and other Rangers products as soon as it is in a position to do so.

Rangers has been the subject of an intense tussle for control between Mr Ashley, a retail billionaire who also owns English club Newcastle United, and Dave King, chairman of the Scottish side.

Some fans have been refusing to buy the team’s official gear, complaining that the joint venture was too generous to Mr Ashley and offered slim pickings for the club.

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