Mike Ashley fails in court bid to overturn Rangers fine

Mike Ashley. Picture by PA.
Mike Ashley. Picture by PA.
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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has failed in a bid to overturn a fine from the Scottish Football Association (SFA) over his influence at Rangers.

The sports governing body fined Mr Ashley £7,500, reduced to £1,000 on appeal, after finding he had breached SFA rules aimed at preventing people involved in the management or administration of one football club becoming involved in, or having influence over, the management or administration of another club.

SFA tribunals ruled the breaches were as a result of MASH Holdings Ltd, of which MrAshley is the majority shareholder, loaning Rangers money and Mr Ashley's associate Derek Llambias being appointed to the Glasgow club's board.

Mr Ashley sought judicial review of the decision at the highest court in Scotland, claiming errors in law had been made and seeking to have the breaches and fine scrapped.

The Court of Session judgement, published on Friday, said MASH entered into a credit facility arrangement of £2 million with Rangers FC owner The Rangers Football Club Ltd (RFCL) on October 26, 2014.

Conditions of the loan stipulated that MASH could appoint up to two directors on the board of RFCL.

Days later, Mr Llambias was appointed as a director of RFCL and its sole shareholder Rangers International Football Club PLC.

Mr Ashley's lawyer, Craig Sandison QC, argued that MASH entered into the credit facility agreement and not Mr Ashley, but SFA lawyers disagreed.

In a written judgement, Lord Brodie said the SFA disciplinary tribunal was "entitled to find that the petitioner (Mr Ashley) had acted 'through' his associate MASH".

Lord Brodie also agreed with the SFA that the "very granting of the right to nominate directors in and of itself gave rise to the possibility of the petitioner influencing the affairs of two clubs."