Scottish FA rejects attempt by owner of Newcastle to increase shareholding in Rangers

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GLASGOW, Scotland — The Scottish Football Association has rejected an attempt by the owner of English Premier League team Newcastle to significantly increase his stake in financially stricken Rangers.

Mike Ashley owns nearly 9 percent of Rangers' shares, and wanted to take his shareholding to 29.9 percent.

The SFA says in a statement released on Wednesday that it has been "unanimously" decided that Ashley's application should not be granted, in order to "safeguard the interests and public profile of association football, its players, spectators, and others involved with the game."

Ashley, who recently handed the club a loan of 3 million pounds ($4.7 million), faces a hearing on Jan. 27 which will determine whether his dual interests in Rangers and Newcastle breaches SFA rules.

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