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Murray agrees Rangers sale - report

Rangers owner Sir David Murray has agreed to sell the club to businessman Craig Whyte but is awaiting the approval of the club's board, according to reports on Sky Sports News.

Whyte is set to take ownership of Ibrox, as well as the club's training ground, and will pay £33 million to complete the deal, with £25 million also invested in the playing squad over five years

He will take over 75% of Sir David Murray's shareholding, with London-based property developer Andrew Ellis becoming a 25% partner, once the buy-out is rubber-stamped.

Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston predicted on Friday that there would be some finality on the deal, one way or another, within ''the next couple of days''. But he also admitted the Rangers board were not closely involved in negotiations and Whyte's team continue to insist that no deadline will be set for the deal to be completed.

A major complication to the deal emerged on Friday when the club's interim financial figures revealed a one-off payment of £2.8 million to HM Revenue and Customs.

The liability from ''player compensation schemes'' from 1999-2003 initially came as a surprise to the Rangers board, and it is believed to Whyte too, and there was no certainty over who would foot the bill. The issue is separate to an ongoing tax investigation which Johnston admitted could leave Rangers with a bill they cannot afford to pay.

The intricate nature of negotiations have been further compounded by the close involvement of Lloyds Banking Group in the day-to-day running of the club. Johnston admitted on Friday that director Donald Muir had been placed on the board to represent the bank's interests as they seek to recoup their losses.

Rangers did not reveal their overall debt on Friday, but it is believed to be more than £20 million, with the last official figure standing at £27.1 million in June.

Rangers announced a retained profit of more than £9 million for the last six months of last year, a figure affected by the tax payment.

Whyte first officially announced his intention to make a bid for Sir David Murray's controlling stake in November, with several predicted deadlines for a deal passing in the intervening period.


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