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Rangers owner 'not fit and proper'

The Scottish Football Association has said Rangers owner Craig Whyte is not "a fit and proper person" to run a football club.

The ruling follows an independent inquiry, chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith, into the crisis-hit Scottish champions. It also found that Rangers should face a charge of bringing the game into disrepute. The findings were heard at a board meeting at Hampden Park.

The ruling on Mr Whyte, who took over Sir David Murray's majority shareholding last May, centres on revelations he was previously disqualified as a company director for seven years from 2000.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: "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."

A spokesman for Mr 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."

The SFA contacted Rangers on December 1 to seek clarification on Mr Whyte's disqualification, after the information was issued in a statement to the PLUS Stock Exchange as the club released their annual financial figures, which were unaudited.

The governing body's rules around the "fit and proper person" test specify that office bearers should not have been disqualified as a director "within the previous five years".

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. They said at that time attempts to clarify the "fit and proper person" requirement had been restricted by the club solicitors' failure to share information.

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."

Rangers are still awaiting the outcome of a tax tribunal which could cost the club up to £49 million.


From Belfast Telegraph