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Volume 6 No. 216


Former Scottish Third Division Rangers CEO Charles Green "is believed to have told the Rangers board he intends to sell his stake in the Ibrox club to Greenock-based businessmen James and Sandy Easdale in the wake of his resignation" as CEO, according to Stephen Halliday of the SCOTSMAN. The Easdale brothers, whose investment company Arranglen Ltd. controls Scotland’s largest independent bus operator McGill's, "already own around six per cent of Rangers." Green "remains the largest single shareholder" with an 8.7% stake. Under Stock Exchange rules, he "cannot sell his shares until December, but it is understood he has agreed a deal in principle with James Easdale" (SCOTSMAN, 4/23).

In Glasgow, Ferguson & Jackson reported Green "is poised to walk away from Rangers with almost" £3M ($4.6M) after agreeing to sell his shares. Green "bought five million shares in Rangers at 1p each last October." At today’s value of 57.5p, his 5 million shares in the club would be worth £2.9M ($4.45M) -- giving him a startling £2.86M ($4.36M) return on his 10 months at Ibrox. Club sources said that Non-Exec Dir Ian Hart, who has until now been a staunch supporter of Green, "has concerns about doing further business with the Easdales." Hart is said to be "ready to switch his support to the boardroom faction," which is spearheaded by former Manager Walter Smith and Chair Malcolm Murray. There is also a growing concern about the club’s position with the Scottish FA, which has "reacted angrily to revelations linking" Green with disgraced former Owner Craig Whyte (DAILY RECORD, 4/24).

MATHER INTERIM CEO: The BBC wrote Craig Mather has been appointed as interim CEO of Rangers and given a place on the board. Mather bought 10% of the club in July "with a remit to assist in youth development, while that initial outlay since diluted to a 3.1% shareholding." Murray said "Craig's appointment will allow the company and the club to keep moving forward. Craig has invested £1M ($1.5M) of his own money in the club and is committed to playing an active part in delivering future success for Rangers" (BBC, 4/24). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Mather is determined to dispel any doubts fans may have about his appointment, as he revealed that "he wants the position on a permanent basis." He said, "Rangers fans have been outstanding in their support for the club during the most difficult of times, and I know they don't know me and may have some doubts. I hope to dispel all of those if that is the case. I know there have been rumors about who is supposed to be connected with whom, but I prefer to distance myself from all of that" (DAILY RECORD, 4/24).

PERIOD OF UNCERTAINTY: In Glasgow, Richard Wilson reported "the situation around Rangers remains a fog of uncertainty." There "is a split on the board," essentially based on those who supported Green and Commercial Dir Imran Ahmad "and those who wanted them removed." The appointment of Mather as interim CEO "also split the board, since some considered him a Green ally." Yet putting him in place "is less disruptive than bringing in an outsider for a short period" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 4/24).

Cardiff, Wales Council Economy Chief Russel Goodway said League Championship side Cardiff City's promotion to the Premier League is the equivalent to the Welsh capital "winning the EuroMillions," according to Peter Law of WALES ONLINE. Goodway described City’s rise to football’s elite as a "life-changing moment" for Cardiff that will bring priceless global exposure. He said, "This is really a change of gear for this city in terms of our global profile. That can’t be underestimated what that does in terms of recognition." The council is already guaranteed to enjoy a cash windfall from City's promotion. As part of the lease for the stadium land, the club owes the authority a one-off payment of £720,000 ($1.1M) plus interest. City will also have to fund an annual £250,000 ($381,000) bursary "for the development of footballing talent among schoolchildren in the capital" each year it remains in the top flight. Asked how the money would be spent, Goodway replied: "We have ideas, yes, but that is a matter the leader will have to determine -- and I’m sure she’ll get many bids. It’s very welcome because it means we can be a little more ambitious about our agenda for community sport" (WALES ONLINE, 4/24).

National Rugby League side Parramatta Eels has become the seventh NRL team to be hauled into Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation, with two current Eels players "wanted for interview," according to Josh Massoud of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The pair is among the 31 players "who received interview notices last month." The development came as ASADA CEO Aurora Andruska "backflipped on her snap decision to cancel interviews" with Cronulla Sharks players this week, following a stern phone call from NRL CEO Dave Smith. After a lengthy conversation with Andruska, Smith Wednesday night "emerged with assurances that interviews would now begin next Monday" -- five days after they were originally scheduled to start. The Parramatta twist "throws further intrigue into the handling of the case," given the Eels were not named in the explosive Australian Crime Commission report as one of the six clubs with implicated players (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/25).