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By ESPN Staff

Whyte driven by Rangers passion

Craig Whyte claims his passion for Rangers was his main reason for buying the club, after finally completing his takeover of the Scottish champions on Friday when he acquired Sir David Murray's 85% shareholding.

The deal involved wiping out the club's debt of around £20 million and pledging £25 million over five years to invest in the squad.

Describing the motivation behind the buy-out, which took six months to conclude, Whyte said: ''I'm a passionate Rangers fan and I have been since I was a boy. I also see a great opportunity. Rangers are a tremendous worldwide brand and I think there are many commercial activities that can be expanded on.

''I'm a fan first and foremost and that's the main reason for buying the club. It's a very exciting time, I'm very proud to be the owner of Rangers Football Club. It's a fantastic institution and it's very exciting.''

Whyte is ''very confident'' Rangers will win their HM Revenue and Customs tax case. The Ibrox club are under investigation by HMRC over a tax issue which relates to offshore payments to players from 2001.

Outgoing Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston admitted last month that he feared the ongoing tax dispute could leave the Scottish champions with a bill they could not pay. However, Whyte does not share those concerns.

''At this moment in time, there is no liability to HMRC,'' he said. ''There is a tax tribunal that has been going on for some time. Our advice is that we are going to win the case.

''I'm confident we are going to win the case and there will be no liability there. It's not going to be determined for a while yet but I'm very confident we're going to win that case.

''It's something we have gone into in quite a lot of detail and I've spoken with the legal counsel dealing with the case who's very confident we're going to win the case.''

Whyte has also vowed to continue Rangers' fight to stamp out sectarianism in the wake of UEFA sanctions and urged fans to demonstrate the same behaviour he witnessed at Ibrox during Saturday's 4-0 win over Hearts.

Rangers were fined and their fans banned from travelling to their next away fixture in Europe following discriminatory behaviour in both legs of their Europa League tie against PSV Eindhoven.

Whyte told ''I think there has been a lot of work done in recent years by the club to stamp out sectarian singing. We've just got to follow through on that.

''When you look at the atmosphere at the game on Saturday, there was a tremendous atmosphere.

''There was no sectarian singing and everybody had a good time and that's what we want to continue. I want to support the fans being here, having a good time and enjoying coming to watch matches at Ibrox.''


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