Rangers’ appeal to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) against the year-long transfer embargo was rejected yesterday. (Image | FIFA)

The appeal submitted by Rangers Football Club against the season-long transfer embargo imposed by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) has been rejected. Six charges had been levelled against the club for the mismanagement of its finances, and former owner Craig Whyte has been banned from Scottish football. Rangers had submitted their appeal on the basis that the club should not be punished for the mistakes of its owner.

Despite the decision, which severely hampers the club in its attempts to continue to assert itself in any way at the top of the Scottish Premier League (SPL), moves by parties interested in purchasing the club continue apace.

Rangers supporters may want answers from disgraced former owner Craig Whyte, but they’ve already had the crucial one from the SFA: an emphatic “no.” (Image | The Guardian)

A consortium led by former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green had an offer for Rangers accepted on Sunday and was present when the result of the appeal was announced. He said: “Our group went into the purchase of the club with this sanction in place, but we hoped the decision would at least be commuted.

“We fully support the club as it considers an appeal against this latest decision.”

The club’s administrators, Duff & Phelps, argued that the transfer embargo, imposed on 23 April, would hinder attempts to find new owners, but it appears as though this hasn’t occurred, with the interest from Green and his associates. A full report on the reasons for the rejection of Rangers’ appeal is set to be issued shortly, but a brief summary of the decision was presented yesterday:

“It was competent for disciplinary tribunal to impose the additional sanction of prohibiting registrations of any new players of 18 years or older for a period of 12 months.

“The disciplinary tribunal was correct to determine that the conduct involved – especially the deliberate non-payment of very large sums, estimated in excess of £13m of tax in the form of PAYE, NIC and VAT – was attributable to the club as a member of the Scottish FA.

“The disciplinary tribunal was correct also in holding that the maximum fine available for this breach was £100,000 and on its own was inadequate as a punishment for this misconduct. It was therefore correct to select an additional sanction.

“The sanctions available included expulsion from participation in the game and termination or suspension of membership of the Scottish FA, which would have had a similar effect,” the panel stated.

The fans and the club will continue to fight against what they perceive as an unjust and misguided punishment. (Image | Futbolita)

The above options were rejected by the three man disciplinary tribunal on the basis of being “too severe”, but still administrator Paul Clark, who was said to be “dismayed”, claimed Rangers would continue to battle against the ban: “The decision by the appellate tribunal to uphold the sanction, namely the suspension of registration of players for one year, is not competent in the view of the club and its legal advisers.”

Sandy Jardine, of the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund, said: “Rangers supporters will be shocked and bitterly disappointed by this decision and will find it hard to take that the club has been so heavily punished for the actions of individuals.”

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