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Rangers owner Craig Whyte banned from Scottish football for life by SFA

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Rangers to begin season in Scottish Third Division
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Rangers to begin season in Scottish Third Division

Rangers director Craig Whyte has been banned for life by the Scottish Football Association from having any involvement in Scottish football.

The club, who has been in administration since February, has been awarded a substantial 160,000 pound fine and twelve month transfer embargo, while Whyte has been declared as not being a fit and proper person to be a director and faces fines of 200,000 pound.

In a statement released by the SFA, the director was charged with three different rule breaches, being found guilty of two, while the third is "not proven".

Rangers Football Club has been charged with six breaches, having been found guilty of five, and one "not proven".

The SFA panel met on Friday, in which Whyte refused to appear, but it delayed the announcement until this week. The original hearing had been postponed in response to Whyte's lawyers request for more time to prepare a case. However he also failed to attend the procedural hearing on April 6th, to "lodge a substantive response and for representations to be made as to state of preparation."

The SFA declared that its judicial panel would issue reasons for its findings in "early course", while both parties have three days to appeal following receipt of those reasons.

Speaking to the BBC about the punishment, Whyte said: "Tell me how it is going to affect me? I couldn't care less. It makes no difference to my life whatsoever - and good luck collecting the money.

"It's a joke. It is very harsh on Rangers. I am surprised at how harsh the SFA have been on a club which is going through tough times at the moment.

"Stewart Regan [chief executive] and Campbell Ogilvie [president] should resign and get out of Scottish football. The SFA want to kick Rangers when they are down and I hope people remember that. They are playing to the media."

A statement from Rangers' joint administrator Paul Clark, of Duff & Phelps, read: "All of us working on behalf of the club are utterly shocked and dismayed by the draconian sanctions imposed on Rangers in respect of these charges.

"It appears that on one hand the disciplinary panel accepted our central argument that responsibility for bringing the club into disrepute lay with the actions of one individual - Craig Whyte - as is evident from the unprecedented punishment meted out to him.

"During this hearing the club produced compelling evidence from a number of sources that following his takeover, Craig Whyte ran the club in a thoroughly unaccountable manner, rather than adhering to a long-established and proper form of corporate governance.

"The thrust of the charges against the club focused on non-payment of payroll taxes and evidence was produced that all such decisions in this area were taken by Craig Whyte during his tenure.

"Given this evidence, it is difficult to comprehend that the disciplinary panel has seen fit to effectively punish the club even more heavily than Mr Whyte. As everyone knows, it has already been decided he is not a fit and proper person to run a football club and any further punishment on him will have little or no impact.

"However, for Rangers, a ban on signing players will seriously undermine the club's efforts to rebuild after being rendered insolvent.

"Furthermore, we do not know how bidders for the club will react to these sanctions and what affect they will have on their proposals.

"The club has asked for full written reasons for these decisions and intend to appeal against the findings."

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