Livingston in new signing ban due to bonuses case

Almondvale, home ground of Livingston. Picture: SNS
Almondvale, home ground of Livingston. Picture: SNS
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LIVINGSTON’S off-field problems deepened yesterday when the SPFL imposed a signing embargo on the club.

The Championship outfit have been prohibited from registering players by the governing body for an indefinite period because of an allegation over undeclared bonus payments which are reported to total £30,500.

The ban comes just days after the Almondvale club were hit with a notice of complaint from the SFA due to apparent breaches of five disciplinary rules ­surrounding the shareholding of Neil Rankine, who it is claimed also holds “interests” in East Fife and Dumbarton.

Following Friday’s SFA move, a principal hearing has been scheduled for 10 September.

The latest matter, however, has come to light after a ­member of the West Lothian side’s board, understood to be vice-chairman Robert Wilson, wrote to both the SFA and the SPFL to volunteer supposed evidence of the bonus payments, which it is claimed former chief executive Ged Nixon made without the knowledge of other directors.

Nixon is suing Livingston for £311,000 he believes is due to him in loan repayments following an acrimonious split from the club last year and opted not to make any comment when contacted yesterday. Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall was similarly unwilling to ­discuss the issue.

Rankine has indicated that should Livingston lose the court case with Nixon, which has been scheduled for March, they could be plunged into administration for a third time in the club’s patchy history.

A spokesman for the SPFL said: “The SPFL has been provided with information by a Livingston Football Club director which indicates a default in relation to HMRC payments.

“Under SPFL rules an embargo on the registration of professional players is automatic in these circumstances.”

Livingston have made nine new signings during the summer transfer window.