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Rangers owner Whyte laughs off latest charges

By Lisa Gray

Rangers owner Craig Whyte has told the Scottish Football Association there is “not a chance” he will appear before its judiciary panel today.

The re-arranged hearing, which is set to take place over three days — Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday — follows Lord Nimmo Smith's independent inquiry which ended with the SFA charging the administration-hit Ibrox club and Whyte with seven breaches of its rules.

The club is charged with five offences, including failing to abide by SFA regulations over the 'fit and proper' person's test, and Whyte, ruled unfit by the SFA to be a club official, with two more.

The SFA adjourned the original hearing on March 29 after Whyte's lawyers asked for more time to prepare a case, but the Motherwell-based businessman failed to attend a procedural hearing on April 6 which was set for him to “lodge a substantive response and for representations to be made as to state of preparation”.

Speaking from the south of France, Whyte laughed when asked by the Belfast Telegraph if he would be at Hampden today, then said: “Not a chance.

“The SFA is a farcical organisation. The whole thing is a farce. I will absolutely play no part in it and I will have no representation at Hampden.

“I will have more to say about it all in the next couple of days.”

Whyte will be tried in his absence by the three-man judiciary panel if he fails to turn up or be represented.

However, Rangers fans might worry more about the fact he has not yet spoken to Bill Miller, one of the three bidders in the race to take over the club.

The US businessman is competing with former Rangers director Paul Murray's Blue Knights consortium and a Singapore-based group headed by Bill Ng.

Murray warned Rangers' administrators Duff and Phelps on Saturday that time is running out to save the club from liquidation and last night worried Gers fans accused Duff and Phelps of putting the club in jeopardy of that nightmare scenario because of their failure to name a preferred bidder.

Whyte remains a key player and he offered no solace to Rangers fans, who expect a resolution any time soon.

“I have spoken to two of the bidders, the Singaporean bidders and the Blue Knights,” said Whyte.

“But I have not spoken to Bill Miller and I have no plans to speak to him. He has not made contact with me.

“I am happy to have a conversation with him or anyone who is interested.

“Anyone who is named the preferred bidder will have to talk to me and thrash out a deal.”

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