Rangers administration: Craig Whyte due to face SFA panel tomorrow
THE latest attempt by the football authorities to call Craig Whyte to account for his activities at Rangers will go ahead at Hampden tomorrow, when a Scottish Football Association panel holds a judicial hearing.
Whyte has been asked to appear before the panel in person, after he failed in his request to have a hearing into alleged rule breaches by himself and the club postponed until July. Rangers’ majority shareholder, who was chairman before the club went into administration in February, was unavailable for comment tonight and is thought to have given no indication that he would turn up at the national stadium to discuss the matter.
Last week’s principal hearing, also at Hampden, had been due to consider a total of nine charges relating to Whyte’s stewardship of Rangers. The complaints against him from SFA compliance officer Vince Lunny included seven charges against Rangers during his sterwardship, and two personal charges of bringing the game into disrepute and failing to act in the best interests of football.
Whyte’s request for a postponement was dismissed by the independent three-man SFA judicial panel, which set tomorrow’s date for the procedural hearing. Whyte will be invited to “lodge a substantive response and for representations to be made as to state of preparation”.
If Whyte does not comply with that request, he will be considered to have committed another breach of SFA rules. In this instance, it would be Rule 105 which states “Any party who is subject to a direction from a tribunal must follow that direction as so directed by the tribunal. Any party who fails to do so, may be found to be in breach of this rule.” The maximum punishment for breaching Rule 105 is a £50,000 fine and suspension from football until compliance with the rule.
The full hearing on Rangers and Whyte will be held on 17, 18 and 20 of this month, with Whyte again expected to attend in person. Among the seven alleged rule breaches made against Rangers are two involving non-payment of shares of admission money from their fifth round Scottish Cup tie against Dundee United at Ibrox on 15 February to the visiting club and the SFA.
Since those charges were laid, that issue has been dealt with in fact if not in law by the SFA, who announced on Wednesday that it was diverting £35,000 in cash to United from broadcasting revenue which had been due to Rangers.
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