Lord William Nimmo Smith, a former Supreme Court judge, has been appointed as chairman of the four-man inquiry panel who began their investigations yesterday and will deliver their findings to the SFA’s executive board of directors in a fortnight.
Joining Lord Nimmo Smith and Regan on the panel are Professor Niall Lothian, a past president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, and Bob Downes, deputy chairman of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
Regan, who claims the SFA’s previous efforts to establish Whyte’s credentials as fit and proper to hold his position at Rangers had been met with “obstruction”, is confident the stature of those involved in the inquiry will help him fulfil his desire to reach a swift conclusion to the investigation.
“We believe the quality of these individuals will flush out the details we need to know and provide the SFA board with whatever evidence we need to decide what happens next,” said Regan.
“We decided that now the situation at Rangers has escalated, we will have this independent inquiry with three strong, high-profile individuals from the legal, financial and business communities.
“Niall Lothian, for example, has just received an OBE for corporate and civil governance. I want us to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. The SFA were becoming increasingly frustrated at the obstructions being put in place to prevent us finding out information we needed.”
Regan says the independent inquiry panel members will seek to interview Whyte in person during the course of their investigation, although the SFA chief executive was reluctant to specify the nature of the information they would request from the Rangers owner.
“It is difficult for me to go into details at this stage,” Regan said. “But there is a lot of information we need to look at, particularly information held by the administrator. The first steps our panel will take will be to meet the administrators this week and start to get a picture of the facts they have pieced together over the last week.
“Once that happens they will start to formulate their views in relation to the SFA’s Articles of Association and where breaches of them have happened.
“Interviewing Mr Whyte is one of the options open to the indepdendent inquiry. It will look at everything that has gone on. At this stage, it is about gathering the facts and understanding what has gone on at Rangers Football Club. We would like to conclude it as quickly as possible but we are not putting ourselves into a box concerning timescale.
“It depends what comes out of the Independent Inquiry. So far, the SFA have been kept at arms length by (Whyte’s) solicitors. Despite our best endeavours to get information that would allow us to take a considered view we just haven’t had any information. We wanted to give the club every chance to explain the situation but that has been difficult.
“Our inquiry is only looking at potential breaches of the SFA’s articles.
“So far there has been no transparency or disclosure. That has made the board determined to find out what has gone on at the club and then decide how we deal with that.”