SFA says Craig Whyte is not 'fit and proper person' to own Rangers

 

The Scottish Football Association has stated that Rangers owner Craig Whyte “is not considered to be a fit and proper person to hold a position within association football” following an independent inquiry into the stricken club.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan also confirmed that Rangers face a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

The findings of the independent inquiry were heard at a Special Board Meeting at Hampden Park today and will now be referred to the Judicial Panel.

The SFA confirmed on February 17 - three days after Rangers went into administration - that they would conduct a full independent inquiry into the activities of the club and investigate whether there had been any potential breaches of their Articles of Association.

The football governing body said at that time attempts to obtain information relating to their "fit and proper person" requirement had been restricted by the club solicitors' failure to share information.

Regan said today in a statement: "I can confirm that the Scottish FA convened a Special Board Meeting at Hampden Park today to discuss the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Rangers FC, prepared by the Chair, The Right Honourable Lord William Nimmo Smith.

"Principally, it is the belief of the Board, taking into account the prima facie evidence presented today, that Mr Craig Whyte is not considered to be a Fit and Proper person to hold a position within Association Football.

"We will be writing to Mr Whyte in relation to those findings and shall seek a response within seven days.

"The report submitted by Lord Nimmo Smith, having been considered fully by the Board, highlights a number of other potential rule breaches by the club and its owner.

"The report will now be used as evidence and forwarded to a Judicial Panel for consideration and determination as per the protocol.

"As such, the report's contents will not be published at this time.

"Nevertheless, I can confirm that the club is facing a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

"Specifically, areas of potential breach to be considered by the Judicial Panel include: Obligations and duties of members, Official return, Financial records, Division of receipts and payment of expenses (Scottish Cup)."

Regan added: "We have sent a letter to the Rangers administrators, Duff and Phelps, advising them that failure to pay monies owed to another member constitutes a breach of the Cup Competition Rules.

"Consequently, the club faces disciplinary action unless they make payments due to Dundee United from their recent William Hill Scottish Cup tie.

"A Notice of Complaint has been issued to that effect."

Rangers joint-administrator Paul Clark said: "We note the findings and announcement by the Scottish Football Association.

"We look forward to stating the club's case to the Judicial Panel.

"In broad terms, we believe there are mitigating factors and we hope to demonstrate the distinction between the club and the actions of any individuals."

Responding to the SFA statement, a spokesman for Whyte said: "The SFA has indicated it will be writing to Mr Whyte within seven days.

"Until that happens and he has had an opportunity to consider Lord Nimmo Smith's findings, it would be premature to make any comment."

On Monday, the Scottish Premier League launched an investigation into allegations that Rangers made undisclosed payments to players during the Sir David Murray era.

The probe followed claims made by former Ibrox director Hugh Adam that some payments were not included in official contracts that were registered with the SPL.

The payments allegedly left out of official contracts centred on the use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs), which were the subject of a tax tribunal in January.

Rangers are still awaiting the outcome of the case, regarding offshore payments made from 2001-10, and which could cost the club up to £49million.

Regan said: "I would like to clarify the situation relating to possible non-disclosure of payments to players, and in particular the Employee Benefit Trust.

"Having noted the Scottish Premier League's intention to investigate this matter, the Board has decided to allow the SPL to complete this process, given our potential status as the appellate body.

"We retain our position until such time as the SPL's investigation is concluded."

PA

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