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Rangers supporters line up new scheme to buy shares in club

A group of Rangers supporters is to launch a new scheme to enable fans to buy shares in the club.

The fans, believed to include former members of the Rangers Supporters Trust (RST), are working with Supporters Direct Scotland on the scheme.

The intention is to set up a Community Interest Company fans can put money into via monthly direct debits. This vehicle will then buy shares, with the aim of owning a controlling stake. It is the same model as that used by Foundation of Hearts, which hopes to purchase the majority of shares in Heart of Midlothian Football Club plc within the next two months.

The group of Rangers fans will hold a meeting with supporters in the coming weeks to explain their plans. It is effectively a breakaway from the RST, and members of that organisation believe they could legally challenge the new group. Any scheme would run parallel to the BuyRangers share scheme which the RST administers and which holds a minor shareholding in Rangers International Football Club (RIFC).

A new group could potentially cause a rift amongst those Rangers supporters who back fan ownership, particularly if the breakaway from the RST is divisive. There is, though, widespread unhappiness amongst fans at the way the Ibrox club has been run in recent years, so momentum could build for the theory of fan ownership, if it can be shown to be viable in practice.

"Supporters Direct Scotland has agreed to host an information meeting later this month to discuss different models of supporter and community ownership and to help explore how the fan ownership model could work for [Rangers]," said a spokesman for Supporters Direct Scotland, whose organisation the RST is a member of.

With shares in RIFC currently valued at 25.5p on the Alternative Investment Market, it is thought that the group believes that if 25,000 fans signed up for a £20 monthly payment, then they could own a 25% stake in the club within 12 months.

Rangers declined to comment last night.

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