Livingston punished for breaking ownership rules

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LIVINGSTON have been fined and handed a registration ban for breaking SFA dual interest rules.

The Championship outfit were hit with a £5,000 fine and player registration ban by the Scottish FA yesterday after majority shareholder Neil Rankine was found guilty in January of breaching dual interest rules over his involvement with League Two side East Fife.

Picture: SNS

Picture: SNS

The governing body has handed Rankine a deadline of May 15 to part with his shares in at least one of the two clubs or face further punishment.

The West Lothian side were fined £10,000 and also had five points deducted in November last year for breaking tax rules.

Rankine is currently out of the country on holiday and talks regarding the offer are planned as soon as he returns.

The SFA sanctions imposed on the Lions also restricts the club from re-signing any of their current players.

The SFA statement read: “The tribunal considered that the imposition of a substantial financial penalty would not be in the best interests of the club or the wider interests of Scottish football.

“The panel did, nonetheless, require to illustrate the gravity of the breaches and imposed a ‘global sanction’ in respect of the four breaches, which arise out of a set of circumstances. The global sanctions are determined in two parts:

“1. Fine of £5000 imposed on Livingston FC.

“2. Livingston FC prevented from registering any player, either on loan or permanently, or extending the contract of any player currently registered with the club until such time as the club has resolved the ongoing breach of Disciplinary Rule 21.

“If the ongoing breach is not resolved it would be a matter for the Compliance Officer to consider raising further proceedings.”

The SFA punishment comes just four days ahead of the Petrofac Training Cup final against fellow Championship strugglers Alloa at McDiarmid Park.

Player/manager Mark Burchill, whose side are five points adrift at the Championship basement, said: “We didn’t expect it but we knew something was happening. But that is for the guys upstairs to deal with.

“For me and players I think it’s water of a duck’s back, we just need to get on with it. There have been so many issues like the points penalty.

“We knew this court case was ongoing, there’s a court case between the former chief executive (Ged Nixon) and the current owner (Neil Rankine) too. We just need to forget about it.”

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