New Rangers owner pledges £5m for players

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The Independent Online

Rangers' new owner Craig Whyte last night vowed to do all he could to ensure future success at the club after finally completing his protracted takeover of the Scottish champions.

The Scottish tycoon acquired Murray International Holding's 85.3 per cent majority shareholding for £1 – in return for assurances over investment in the playing squad – after six months of negotiations.

Whyte has pledged an immediate £5m injection to manager-in-waiting Ally McCoist's summer rebuilding plans plus money to improve Ibrox.

The incoming majority shareholder has also promised a further £20m of spending over four years and guaranteed to settle the club's debt with Lloyds Banking Group. Wavetower, a newly incorporated company formed for the purpose of the acquisition, will take control of the club immediately.

However, members of the Rangers board expressed doubts last night over Whyte's cash pledges. And they expressed specific doubt over the ability to pay the bill facing the club should HM Revenue and Customs secure victory in a tribunal over offshore payments to players.

A statement attributed to the Independent Board Committee released on the club's official website read: "Although the IBC has no power to block the transaction, following its enquiries, the IBC and Wavetower have differing views on the future revenue generation and cash requirements of the club and the IBC is concerned about a lack of clarity on how future cash requirements would be met, particularly any liability arising from the outstanding HMRC case."

The takeover agreement was signed in Edinburgh earlier yesterday and then ratified by the Takeover Panel. In a statement, Whyte said: "As a keen Rangers supporter I now look forward to helping the club secure its future as a leading force in Scottish and European football."

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