THE Scottish Football Association is ready to punish Mike Ashley and Rangers over the Newcastle United owner’s Ibrox involvement.
Hampden chiefs have issued both Ashley and the club with notices of complaints.
The latest development in the Gers saga came the same day as it was confirmed boss Ally McCoist had tendered his resignation.
McCoist has given a 12-month notice period but the final say on whether the manager remains in charge of the cash-strapped Light Blues for that long could ultimately rest with the Sports Direct tycoon.
However, his behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings have now put the Magpies owner on a collision course with the SFA.
Compliance Officer McGlennan has charged him with breaching two of the governing bodies’ rules.
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The first - disciplinary rule 19 - states that “except with the prior written consent of the board no person [who] has any power whatsoever to influence the management or administration or a club, may at the same time either directly or indirectly (a) be a member of another club; or (b) be involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management or administration of another club; or (c) have any power whatsoever to influence the management or administration of another club.
A second charge accuses Ashley of breaching disciplinary rule 77, which states, “A recognised football body, club, official, Team Official, other member of Team Staff, player, match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall, at all times, act in the best interests of Association Football”.
Rangers as a club have also been accused of breaching rules 19 and 77 while they also face a third charge relating to disciplinary rule 1.
It states “All members shall: (b) be subject to and comply with (i) the Articles (ii) this protocol and (f) behave towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith”.
Both the club and Ashley will face a principal hearing on Tuesday, January 27, next year.
Ashley was one of the original investors in the initial public offering when Rangers was floated on the AIM Market - a sub-market on the London Stock Exchange - at the end of 2012.
But Ashley had already promised the SFA that he would not own more than 10 per cent of Rangers as part of an agreement designed to limit his influence at Ibrox while he remains in control of Newcastle.
Although his current stake in the club stands at 8.92 per cent, Ashley runs Rangers’ retail division and has recently handed the club a £3million loan.
His right-hand man Derek Llambias - the former Newcastle managing director - has also been added to the Gers board.
An option on stadium naming rights bought for just £1 have been handed back to the club, however.
Rangers announced losses of £8.3million last month and need to raise a similar amount before the end of the financial year if the club is to survive.
McCoist’s decision to walk means he must be paid £750,000 for the final year of his contract and it is likely the clubs directors will have to turn to their main benefactor - Ashley - once again if they are to find the cash they desperately require.
The club’s board is expected to meet with McCoist on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
If found guilty, Rangers could face a range of punishments that include a censure, fine, being thrown out of the the Scottish Cup, a transfer ban or even having their membership of the SFA terminated.
Ashley, meanwhile, risks a £10,000 fine if he fails to have the charges dropped.
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