Rangers chief Dave King welcomes SFA departure of Gary Hughes

Rangers chief Dave King has welcomed Gary Hughes' departure from the SFA. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Rangers chief Dave King has welcomed Gary Hughes' departure from the SFA. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
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Rangers have welcomed the departure of Gary Hughes from the Scottish FA board and called for a review of the processes in place for the organisation’s appointment of independent directors.

The Ibrox club are also demanding assurances from the Scottish FA over the extent of Hughes’ involvement in the investigation which led to the notice of complaint issued against them last month in relation to the Uefa licence they were granted in 2011.

Hughes announced on Monday that he would not be seeking re-election to the Scottish FA board at their annual general meeting which takes place at Hampden tomorrow.

Rangers chairman Dave King had previously called for Hughes to be suspended following the re-emergence of a 12-year-old magazine article in which the Celtic supporting businessman had referred to supporters of the Ibrox side as “the great unwashed”.

Hughes joined the Scottish FA board in 2015 and backed their decision last year not to sanction an independent review into Rangers’ use of Employee Benefit Trusts to pay employees from 2001 to 2010.

But Rangers are now expressing concerns over any part played by Hughes in the eight-month investigation undertaken by Scottish FA compliance officer Tony McGlennan into the 2011 Uefa licence issue, sparked by testimony given during the fraud trial of former club owner and chairman Craig Whyte.

Two charges have been issued against Rangers, alleging breaches of Scottish FA regulations relating to the obtaining of the licence. The principal hearing will be heard on 26 June with potential punishments ranging from a fine to expulsion from the Scottish FA.

Rangers have already said they will ‘fiercely resist’ the charges and now, in their response to Hughes’ exit from the Scottish FA board, have described them as ‘ridiculous’.

“Rangers notes that Gary Hughes will not be standing again for the Scottish FA’s board,” said a club spokesperson.

“Hopefully this decision augurs well for the Scottish FA under the stewardship of its new Chief Executive Officer.

“However, Rangers will be be seeking a review of the SFA’s procedures for such appointments because it is vitally important that those who do stand for election to independent posts in particular are indeed truly independent.

“Rangers shall also be asking the SFA to review whether Mr Hughes was party to any discussions regarding the ridiculous Notice of Complaint brought against the club.

“Furthermore, Rangers must be assured that no actions taken by Mr Hughes during the period of his appointment could have impacted negatively on our club.”

Rangers also remain on a collision course with the Scottish Professional Football League who have rejected calls from King for the suspension of their chairman Murdoch MacLennan.

King is determined to pursue the issue of what he regards as a conflict of interest in MacLennan’s appointment earlier this year as non-executive chairman of Irish media group IRN which is partly owned by Celtic shareholders Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien.

Rangers have disputed claims from the SPFL that full details of MacLennan’s appointment were shared with board members at the time. Stewart Robertson, the Rangers managing director, sits on the SPFL board and the Ibrox club will seek to raise the issue again when the league holds its annual general meeting on 23 July.