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Football League investigation of NUFC and Mike Ashley gets some focus

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The Football League will be taking a close look at Mike Ashley's relationship with Rangers. We may have some closer focus on exactly where those looks will be cast.

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

When Newcastle United's fearless owner bought into Rangers, it turned some heads.  It has been anything but smooth sailing for Mike Ashley and his plans for the Glaswegian giants (whatever those were meant to be).  There were plenty of questions to be asked – remember the raft of loan players we shipped north of the border last January? – but largely questions about the impact of Ashley's Rangers ownership on Newcastle were not paid much mind initially.  Potential relegation in the 2014-15 Premier League season saw the Football League rules questions start to simmer a little bit, but a final-day victory and Premier League survival pushed those to the back burner.

There is no such reprieve this season and the Football League has given notice that they will be looking at the situation closely.

Under Football League rules, which differ from those applied by the Premier League in this area, individuals with shareholdings in a member club are permitted to own up to 9.9% in a second club where held for investment purposes. Any other interests require the League's consent. Once Newcastle United have formally become a member of The Football League this matter will be discussed with the club.

--h/t Got the Battle Fever On

Mike Ashley currently owns 8.9% of Rangers, which is below the threshold set out in the above statement.  Any potential difficulty looks likely to stem from one of two areas:  a) MA's position in Rangers being more than an investment (see: Forcing Derek Llambias into the club or other power-grab moves made by MA since investing) or b) the arrangement between Rangers and Mike Ashley's Sports Direct.

This is going to be something to keep an eye on, but we will not be hearing much of a definitive nature until the Premier League season and Football League play-offs are concluded.