Rangers chairman plans to quit, defends actions

London: Businessman Craig Whyte is planning to step down as chairman of Scottish Premier League champions Rangers when they come out of administration, he said on Tuesday as he defended his takeover of the Glasgow club last year.

Whyte said he had helped to fund the takeover by borrowing more than 20 million pounds against season ticket revenues for the next three years but denied wrongdoing.

"Any suggestion that I am trying to make a fast buck or have indulged in illegal manoeuvring is clearly ludicrous," Whyte said in a statement carried on the BBC website, adding he was "personally on the line" for 27.5 million pounds sin guarantees and cash.

"I will not continue as Rangers Chairman post-restructuring," he added.

Whyte bought an 85 percent stake in Rangers for a nominal one pound last May, taking over a club which owed its main bank 18 million pounds and faces a potential liability of over 50 million pounds from a disputed tax case.

The club went into administration last week after Britain`s tax authorities took action over 9 million pounds in unpaid payroll and sales taxes since Whyte took control of the club.

Whyte said he was talking to potential investors in the 140-year-old club and was also keen on the idea of gifting the majority of his shares to a supporters` foundation once Rangers had been put on a sound financial footing.

"I am open to all serious offers of outside investment. Indeed, I am currently in active discussion with a number of potential bidders and investors," he said.

"However, the reality is that everyone needs to have a final settlement of the big tax case one way or another."

Rangers have won the Scottish title a record 54 times and are one of the best supported clubs in British soccer. Their financial problems have sent shockwaves through the game north and south of the border.

Administrators Duff & Phelps said Rangers supporters had raised concerns over the ticketing deal.

"We are now investigating all the circumstances surrounding both the purchase of the majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club plc and the flow of funds which stemmed from the transaction and were intended to fulfil the purchasers` obligations at the time of the sale," said David Whitehouse, joint administrator.

Rangers were docked 10 points after going into administration, leaving their Glasgow rivals Celtic almost certain to win the league.

Bureau Report

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