CHARLES Green has been fined £2,500 after being found guilty by an SFA Judicial Panel of making “offensive and racist” comments and failing to act in the best interests of football.
The former Rangers chief executive did not attend yesterday’s hearing at Hampden, which had already been postponed once at his request. The panel upheld a complaint he had breached two of the SFA’s disciplinary rules in a newspaper interview last month.
During the interview, Green had spoken of how he often referred to his colleague and former Rangers commercial director Imran Ahmed as “my Paki friend” and recalled how a former playing team-mate at Worksop Town had been known as “Darkie” Johnson.
“I was brought up in a mining community where whether someone was black, white, Catholic, Salvation Army, Protestant made no difference,” said Green in the interview.
“When I played at Worksop Town, the other striker was ‘Darkie’ Johnson. Now if I say that today I could go to jail. You know, Imran will come into the office regularly and I’ll say, ‘How’s my Paki friend?’” Green was heavily criticised for his comments and quickly apologised for them, stressing that he “deplored” racism and sectarianism and that he had been “clumsily” trying to make that point in the interview.
The SFA Judicial Panel ruled that Green had broken both Rule 66 (Bringing the game into disrepute by making comments in a media interview of an offensive and racist nature) and Rule 71 (Not acting in the best interests of Association Football by making comments in a media interview of an offensive and racist nature) of the organisation’s disciplinary code.
“As previously stated, Charles Green issued an apology to the Rangers Board, who were satisfied he is not a racist,” said a Rangers spokesperson last night. “At the time, Mr Green was reminded of the importance of upholding the standards expected by the club and it was acknowledged he would be dealing with this matter on a personal basis. However, given the level of fine imposed we believe the panel consider Mr Green’s conduct to have been ill-advised rather than racist.”
Green, who has 30 days to pay the fine, resigned as chief executive of Rangers shortly after the row over his comments blew up. The Yorkshire businessman stepped down after the Rangers board ordered an independent inquiry into alleged links between him and the club’s discredited former chairman and owner Craig Whyte. That investigation, headed by Roy Martin QC, will seek to establish whether Whyte had any involvement with the consortium headed by Green which purchased the business and assets of Rangers following their financial collapse last year.
The SFA are continuing to pursue Whyte, meanwhile, for his failure to pay the £200,000 fine imposed on him in April 2012 for four serious breaches of bringing the game into disrepute. The sanctions were handed out following Lord Nimmo Smith’s investigation into Whyte’s takeover of Rangers. The club were also fined £160,000 and placed under an 18-month player registration embargo.
The SFA announced in February they intended to sue Whyte in a bid to obtain the fine and their civil case against the 42-year-old venture capitalist was called at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday. Whyte was represented but not present in court where Sheriff Alayne Swanson continued the case until next month. No documents with details relating to the commercial action against Whyte were made available to the media at the court.
Whyte has made no secret of his contempt for the SFA and his intention to refuse to pay
“Tell me how it is going to affect me?,” he said last April when Lord Nimmo Smith’s findings and the sanctions against both himself and the Ibrox club were announced. “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.”