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Newcastle owner strengthens grip on Rangers by loaning cash to stricken Scottish club

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GLASGOW, Scotland — The owner of Premier League team Newcastle has strengthened his position on the board of Rangers after agreeing to lend the financially stricken Scottish club 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) to pay debts.

Rangers says the loan by Mike Ashley, who already owns nearly 9 percent of the club's shares, allows him to hire two directors on the board.

A statement released at the same time Monday says Graham Wallace has resigned as chief executive of Rangers, with British media reporting that Ashley had been calling for his removal.

Rangers, which has won a record 54 league titles in Scotland, was demoted to the bottom tier of Scottish football in 2012 because of financial problems. The Glasgow club is now in the second division after successive promotions.

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