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Mike Ashley reported to have bought naming rights for Rangers' Ibrox Stadium for just £1

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Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley is reportedly thought to have bought the naming rights for Ibrox Stadium – the home of Rangers Football Club – for just £1 (US$1.6, €1.2) more than a year ago.

A number of reports in both the sports and business press have suggested that Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United Football Club, is thought to have agreed the deal with former Rangers chief executive Charles Green, resulting in a commercial deal that also left Ashley in control of the club’s retail department.

The prominent sports and leisure businessman owns around a 5 per cent stake in the Scottish club, which is undergoing a court battle with former commercial director Imran Ahmad, who is seeking to be repaid apparent owed money.

At a recent Court of Session in Edinburgh, a judge Ahmad awarded an arrestment order to have £620,000 of the club's working capital set aside. Ahmad plans to go to court over the amount, which he says he is owed in unpaid bonuses, but fears that the club may not be able to pay out should he win. The club, which is believed to have just £1.2m (US$1.9m, €1.4m) in its bank, is seeking an appeal to the decision delivered in Ahmad's favour.

Rangers International Football Club has looked to sell 19.8 million new shares to try and raise an amount of around £3.6m (US$5.8m, €4.4m) with recent lenders owed at least £1.5m (US$2.4m, €1.8m) which was provided to tide the club over until season-ticket fees came in for the new season.

However, the club’s board has suggested that if the new share take-up comes in at less than the minimum set at 15 million, it would remove the shares on offer, leaving the future of the operating company uncertain.

Some parts of the Rangers community have looked to Ashley as a possible saviour to help underwrite the share issue and stabilise the club’s financial footing.

Despite the £1.5m (US$2.4m, €1.8m) being owed, the club has always insisted that it is not leaning towards insolvency, with talks progressing with potential investors.

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Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley is reportedly thought to have bought the naming rights for Ibrox Stadium – the home of Rangers Football Club – for just £1 (US$1.6, €1.2) more than a year ago.
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Supporters have expressed disappointment at the reports / Shutterstock.com/trevorb
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