Falkirk fined for Ray McKinnon ‘induced’ move from Morton

Falkirk have been hit with a £60,000 fine for breaking two SPFL rules.

Ray McKinnon's move to Falkirk breached two rules and commanded a £60,000 penalty. Picture Michael Gillen.

The breaches of rules D9 and D10 of the league’s rulebook came during the Bairns’ recruitment of Ray McKinnon and Darren Taylor on August 31 last year.

One third of the club’s fine, to be paid to the SPFL Trust, is suspended. The Bairns have the right of appeal to a Scottish FA Appellate Tribunal, but must pay up by the end of next month.

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The duo replaced Paul Hartley at Falkirk having only been in place at Cappielow for four months. They were later joined by graeme Henderson at the bairns and the deals for all three were scrutinised by the Hampden committee.Both clubs attended a hearing after Morton’s complaint and the Bairns were found guilty of the rule breaking last month.

McKinnon moved, along with Darren Taylor, to Falkirk on the last day of the summer transfer window. Picture Michael Gillen.

The sub-committee headed by a legal expert, met earlier this month to consider evidence and the conclusion was published today.

In it the panel branded Falkirk as having “acted naively and/or recklessly and/or deliberately in their pursuit of Ray McKinnon, Darren Taylor and Graeme Henderson”.

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It also brands the Bairns’ boss’ evidence as “particularly unimpressive” and could not be relied upon. The 12-page document also highlights omitted phonecalls from the evidence timelines supplied by the Bairns.

Falkirk chairman Margaret Lang, and Crawford Rae, both gave evidence at the hearing. Picture Michael Gillen.

In their findings the SPFL’s panel, which consisted of solicitor Rory Bannerman, Arbroath director Anne McKeown and Motherwell’s Alan Burrows, an SPFL board member, also adds that “Falkirk FC clearly induced all three employees of Greenock Morton, directly or indirectly, to terminate their respective contracts... and did so without the consent of Greenock Morton”.

The hearing heard evidence from Bairns chairman Margaret Lang, and her opposite number Crawford Rae. Warren Hawke, Morton’s chief executive also gave evidence, as did Ray McKinnon.

Evidence including contact and meetings between Falkirk CEO Craig Campbell and Ray McKinnon’s agent Jim Sherry was also considered.

Ray McKinnon

In a statement the club said: “Falkirk FC acknowledges the SPFL Independent Tribunal’s decision to fine the club £40,000 with a further £20,000 fine suspended until February 2021 in relation to breach of Rules D9 & D10.

“We have been advised that this money is to be paid to the SPFL Trust.

“We remain extremely disappointed with this decision and maintain the view that both ourselves and our management team acted appropriately at all times.

“At present, we are considering our position and will speak with our legal advisors regarding our potential options including appeal.”

The Bairns must also pay the SPFL expenses totalling £3000. The suspended portion of the fine will hang over the club for two-years and expires on February 2021 if they do not breach the same rules again.

The full conclusion has been published on the SPFL website.