Scottish club Rangers are suing more than $4.5 million for refusing to play in Sydney

A decision by Rangers to pull the plug at an Old Firm football game in Sydney earlier this year has resulted in the Scottish club being sued for millions of dollars.

Sports promoters TEG Live and Left Field Live are seeking more than $4.5 million in compensation from Rangers in federal court over lost ticket sales and refund requests after they pulled out of the Sydney Super Cup.

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“As a result of the wrongful termination of the contract (Rangers), the promoter has suffered loss and damage and fears that it will incur further loss and damage,” the companies wrote in the documents filed with the court.

The tournament was due to start in November and would have featured a series of friendly matches between Scottish-based clubs Rangers and Celtic, as well as Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Scottish clubs Rangers and Celtic were originally earmarked for exhibition games in Sydney. Recognition: AP

TEG and Left Field agreed in March this year to host and sponsor the Super Cup through a $3 million deal with the two Scottish clubs.

In planning a media event to unveil the competition on March 15, organizers claim they have reached a standoff over the use of the ‘Old Firm’ trademark used by Celtic and Rangers to denote matches between them.

When the promotional event went ahead without using the phrase, Rangers released an injury notice, claiming that TEG and Left Field had caused significant reputational damage to the club.

Rangers cited fan reactions against the tournament, including protest banners and negative media, as well as online comments.

TEG and Left Field dismissed claims of breach of contract, saying Celtic did not give them permission to use the Old Firm phrase.

Any negative backlash from fans was not caused by the promotional strategy and lack of use of the Old Firm phrase, according to the lawsuit.

Instead, “the criticism stemmed from Rangers fans objecting to an old firm match being played outside of Scotland for the first time in the history of old firm matches between Rangers and Celtic,” TEG and Left wrote fields.

Comments on a promotional video for the event released by Rangers on March 2 called for a boycott or cancellation.

“Why would you even want to play your old firm rivals on the other side of the planet? Aye huge fan base both clubs but c’mon you can do this it’s a joke,” wrote one user.

“Not the slightest bit satisfied with that, the board seems more interested in making a quick quid than listening to their supporters,” said another.

Scottish champions Celtic pictured in Sydney. Recognition: Dan Himbrecht/AAP

In a March conversation with Murray Hodges, head of sport and lifestyle at TEG, Rangers’ commercial and marketing director James Bisgrove allegedly said he had misunderstood the club’s supporters and that this was a worse reaction than he was to face bankruptcy went.

After negotiations failed, Rangers attempted to withdraw from the deal on March 31 of this year.

TEG and Left Field allege that this termination was unlawful and void because they did not breach any of their contractual obligations.

The Scottish club are also said to have misled the Australian public and media by falsely claiming the two promoters were unwilling to live up to their end of the bargain.

“The Rangers’ account was incorrect in that the Promoter was, at all material times, willing, willing and able to perform its obligations to (Rangers) under the Arrangement,” the companies said.

They claim the move reduced the funds available to them to support the competition by $1.5 million, resulted in lost ticket sales and wasted other costs during negotiations.

Additionally, promoters are seeking $3 million in compensation from Rangers for refusing to play.


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James Brien

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