SFA trio threatened over Rangers


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The Independent Online

Police have given security advice to the three members of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) judicial panel who handed out punishments to Rangers after their identities were revealed, the governing body said.

The Glasgow club was handed a £160,000 fine and 12-month transfer embargo by the panel after being found guilty of five charges in relation to its financial affairs and the appointment of Craig Whyte as chairman.

An SFA statement said that the three panel members and SFA directors had been subjected to "abusive and threatening communication".

A spokesman said: "We are deeply concerned that the safety and security of Judicial Panel members appointed to a recent tribunal has been compromised by a wholly irresponsible betrayal of confidential information.

"The Judicial Panel consists of volunteers from across the spectrum of sport and business in Scotland. They are appointed on the basis of anonymity yet all three panel members have reported intrusion into their personal and work lives, including abusive and threatening communication.

"This has been extended to directors of the Scottish FA, whose private details have been published on internet sites and who have, themselves, been victims of abusive communication."

Officers from Strathclyde Police visited SFA headquarters at Hampden Park and told the football body that they are taking all threats made to individuals seriously.

Earlier this week Rangers manager Ally McCoist said the judicial panel's decision could "kill" the club and called for the three members to be named.

He said on Rangers TV: "Who are these people? I want to know who these people are.

"I'm a Rangers supporter and the Rangers supporters and the Scottish public deserve to know who these people are, people who are working for the SFA.

"Make no mistake about it, this is an SFA decision.

"They have appointed the panel so therefore they are working for the SFA, but who are they?"

"In terms of our supporters, again they have received another kicking and we just feel it's time to start fighting back.

"You can guarantee we will be fighting back."

Rangers fans' groups have raised the prospect of protests outside Hampden and boycotts of SFA sponsors, while calling on players to boycott the national team.

On Tuesday SFA chief executive Stewart Regan clarified the disciplinary process, saying the judicial panel tribunal, which sat in a three-day hearing last week, was an independent body made up of three members appointed from a list of more than 100.

Mr Regan stressed the process was approved unanimously by member clubs last year and the SFA had acted on the advice of clubs to implement a "robust disciplinary system that reflected the demands of the modern game".

Rangers' administrators said the punishment could hinder attempts to sell the club to new owners and they called for an immediate appeal hearing.