Rangers' Craig Whyte not fit and proper person - Scottish FA

Businessman Whyte took control of Rangers in May
Businessman Whyte took control of Rangers in May

Rangers' Craig Whyte has been deemed "not a fit and proper person" to own a football club following an independent inquiry by Lord William Nimmo Smith.

The club is also facing a charge of bringing the game into disrepute, Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan announced.

Rangers also face disciplinary action unless they pay money due to Dundee United for a Scottish Cup tie.

The club's administrators say they look forward to putting forward their case.

Regan heard the findings at a special board meeting at Hampden on Thursday.

A statement by Regan said: "Principally, it is the belief of the board, taking into account the prima facie evidence presented today, that Mr Craig Whyte is not considered to be a fit and proper person to hold a position within Association Football.

"We will be writing to Mr Whyte in relation to those findings and shall seek a response within seven days.

"The report submitted by Lord Nimmo Smith, having been considered fully by the board, highlights a number of other potential rule breaches by the club and its owner.

"The report will now be used as evidence and forwarded to a judicial panel for consideration and determination as per the protocol."

Within minutes of the SFA announcement, Paul Clark, joint administrator, said: "We note the findings and announcement by the Scottish Football Association.

"We look forward to stating the club's case to the judicial panel.

"In broad terms, we believe there are mitigating factors and we hope to demonstrate the distinction between the club and the actions of any individuals."

Whyte's takeover of Rangers in May is the subject of a Strathclyde Police investigation.

The Scottish businessman put Rangers into administration at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on 14 February, under pressure from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for non-payment of PAYE and VAT.

At the time, the figure owed to HMRC was thought to be £9m but BBC Scotland has since learned that £15m is a more accurate assessment of the debt.

The plunge into administration attracted a 10-point penalty by the Scottish Premier League.

Whyte's preference for administrator Duff & Phelps was accepted by the court and since mid-February they have been auditing the Ibrox club's books.

On Wednesday, after protracted talks with players collapsed about tiered wage cuts to save £1m in monthly costs, the administrators said they were now rushing to push through the sale of the club.

Having earlier intimated 16 March as their cut-off point, they set Friday as the date for interested parties to show their hand and for their cost-cutting plans to be accepted by the players.

Administrator David Whitehouse warned that without an injection of cash or an agreement over cuts, the firm would begin to make severe cuts to the playing squad, a scenario it is keen to avoid because it would damage the value of the asset - the club - that it is trying to sell.

And he said that the reigning Scottish champions might be unable to fulfil its remaining fixtures this season.

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