Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Boyce begs Rangers to back down from row

Jim Boyce

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has pleaded with Rangers to pull back from any bust-up that could damage the game in Scotland.

The former IFA president fears the cash-strapped club risk dragging SPL rivals and the national team down if they persist in fighting their 12-month transfer embargo through the law courts.

Scotland could be banned from World Cup qualifiers and Celtic, Motherwell, St Johnstone, Hearts and Dundee United prevented from competing in Europe next season if the row escalates.

Boyce fears the Gers could set off on a dangerous path travelled last year by FC Sion, which almost saw rivals Basle expelled from the Champions League and the Swiss national side excluded from World Cup qualifiers.

Boyce said: “Neither Fifa or Uefa like any clubs of their member associations becoming involved in legal action.

“If any club is not happy with its governing body they should seek to settle their dispute through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“The matter has not yet been reported to Fifa by the SFA but I expect they will keep each other informed. If the SFA are not happy with the situation I expect them to write to Uefa and Fifa within the next three days.

“This matter has to be resolved. It cannot go on. If Fifa don’t believe it is being handled properly it’s up to them to deal with it, as they did with FC Sion. It’s a similar case.

“The threat of sanctions against clubs and the national team made the Swiss authorities act very quickly.”

FC Sion signed six players last year during a period in which Fifa insisted they were banned from competing in the transfer market. They eventually backed down after battles in the law and sports courts.

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