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Rangers fans say SFA are 'crippling' club

The Rangers Supporters Trust have accused the Scottish Football Association judicial panel of trying to "cripple" their club as they consider a series of protests and boycotts.

Rangers were last night hit with a £160,000 fine and 12-month embargo on signing players aged over 17 after being found guilty of five charges in relation to their finances and the appointment of Craig Whyte as chairman.

Fans' groups will now consider protests including a boycott of the SFA's sponsors and the national team.

The club's administrators, who have vowed to appeal, have warned the sanctions could seriously undermine attempts to rebuild with the two interested parties still to submit finalised bids.

A statement from the trust read: "This is a shameful decision that has been taken with the sole purpose of crippling Rangers Football Club.

"It is completely unacceptable and fans groups will be meeting to explore how we jointly express our opposition to this decision in the strongest possible terms.

"This could include protesting at Hampden on on the day of the Scottish Cup Final as well as boycotting SFA sponsors William Hill, Carling and Vauxhall.

"All options are on the table and no Rangers player or supporter can credibly play in or support the national side until this ridiculous decision is reversed."

The trust hit out at the timing of the SFA action.

The governing body wrote to Rangers on December 1 asking for clarification over Whyte's declaration 24 hours earlier that he had previously been disqualified as a director, a fact which emerged almost six weeks previously in a BBC documentary.

The SFA announced they were launching a full independent inquiry on February 17, three days after the club went into administration.

The findings of the inquiry led to several charges against the club and Whyte, who has been banned for life from Scottish football and fined £200,000.

The trust statement read: "Despite calls to delay this action the SFA persisted with this case while the club was not in a position to adequately defend itself and had the SFA done its job in the first place on Craig Whyte then this entire saga could have been avoided.

"Rangers supporters are appalled by this decision which brings shame on the SFA and the national game."

The Rangers Supporters Assembly made a similar point.

A statement read: "Just when the club needs the SFA to help it... they kick us when we are down.

"Why did the SFA not investigate when they said they had suspicions before Christmas rather than wait until the club went into administration?"

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