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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 23, 2012

SFA punishes Rangers

Rangers owner Craig Whyte has been banned for life from any involvement in Scottish football and a 12-month transfer embargo has been imposed on the club as part of a series of punishments handed out by the Scottish Football Association.

• Preferred bidder announcement delay

Administration-hit Rangers have also been fined a total of £160,000 while Whyte, who had already been deemed unfit to hold an official position in the game by the SFA, was handed fines totalling £200,000.

Rangers received their registration embargo and a £100,000 fine for breaching rule 66 - bringing the game into disrepute.

They received a £50,000 fine for going into administration and were fined £10,000 for failing to "procure" that Whyte acted within rules concerning fit and proper officials. The Gers chairman failed to notify the SFA that he had been disqualified as a director for seven years in 2000. Rangers' fines are payable within 12 months.

Whyte was fined £50,000 for bringing the game into disrepute but a charge of not acting in an improper manner and against the interests of football was not proven and was handed three more identical fines on separate counts of failing to follow directions from an SFA tribunal.

Whyte, who has been told to pay his fines within 30 days, was also expelled for life from "any participation in Association Football in Scotland".

Rangers faced six charges in all and were found guilty of five. Charges that they had failed to abide by rules concerning fit and proper officials were not proven.

The club were also found guilty of acting in an improper manner/against the best interests of football and also of failing to pay Dundee United gate receipts from their Scottish Cup meeting. They were "censured" on both counts.

The SFA said its judicial panel would issue reasons for its findings in "early course", while both parties have three days to appeal following receipt of those reasons.

Duff and Phelps, joint administrators of Rangers Football Club, condemned the ruling as "draconian".

Paul Clark, joint administrator, said: "All of us working on behalf of the club are utterly shocked and dismayed by the draconian sanctions imposed on Rangers in respect of these charges.

"It appears that on one hand the disciplinary panel accepted our central argument that responsibility for bringing the club into disrepute lay with the actions of one individual - Craig Whyte - as is evident from the unprecedented punishment meted out to him.

"During this hearing, the club produced compelling evidence from a number of sources that, following his takeover, Craig Whyte ran the club in a thoroughly unaccountable manner, rather than adhering to a long-established and proper form of corporate governance.

"The thrust of the charges against the club focused on non-payment of payroll taxes and evidence was produced that all such decisions in this area were taken by Craig Whyte during his tenure.

"Given this evidence, it is difficult to comprehend that the disciplinary panel has seen fit to effectively punish the club even more heavily than Mr Whyte. As everyone knows, it has already been decided he is not a fit and proper person to run a football club and any further punishment on him will have little or no impact.

"However, for Rangers, a ban on signing players will seriously undermine the club's efforts to rebuild after being rendered insolvent.

"Furthermore, we do not know how bidders for the club will react to these sanctions and what affect they will have on their proposals. The club has asked for full written reasons for these decisions and intend to appeal against the findings."

The ban on registering players in particular will cast doubt on the prospect of administrators achieving a sale of the club.

However, American Bill Miller earlier stated he was "moving forward" with his bid, which involves buying the club's assets and transferring them to a new company, and he said he had held discussions with the SFA on Monday.

Miller's bid was dependent on the club receiving no penalties next season with the SPL meeting next Monday to vote on financial fair play proposals.

Administrators Duff and Phelps earlier said that both Miller and rival bidders the Blue Knights had raised their "strong desire to attain greater clarity on potential footballing sanctions" with such issues remaining to be resolved.

The club have been in administration since February 14, when they were forced to take insolvency action following court action from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Their debts could reach £134 million, according to a report from Duff and Phelps.

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