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SFA give Craig Whyte more time

Football News 24/7
Former Rangers Chairman, Craig Whyte has been requested to make a personal appearance in front of an SFA judicial panel next Friday after failing in a bid to have its hearing on alleged rule breaches by him and Rangers put back until July.

It is understood Whyte was seeking another four months in which to compile his defence against the various complaints laid out by the SFA’s compliance officer, including two personal charges of bringing the game into disrepute and failing to act in the best interests of football.

According to BBC Scotland 'Whyte has been given until 17 April to prepare for a Scottish FA hearing into whether he and Rangers breached SFA rules.'

A three-man panel was due to rule after the club and Whyte were found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and not acting in a fit and proper manner. But the Ibrox club’s owner failed to attend yesterday’s principal hearing at Hampden, which was scheduled to consider a total of nine charges relating to his stewardship of Rangers, and instead he submitted a letter through his lawyers asking for more time to prepare his response.

Rangers administrators' said they were "disappointed" by the adjournment.

Paul Clark, of administrators Duff and Phelps, said: "The club's legal representatives were ready to make the club's case which in essence is that there are extenuating and unprecedented circumstances in this case and we hope to demonstrate the distinction between the actions of the club and the actions of individuals.

"We look forward to making our case at the earliest opportunity."

The adjournment request was made by the former Rangers chairman's lawyers.

An SFA spokesman said: "Repre­sen­ta­tives for Mr Craig Whyte submitted a request by letter for further time to prepare their response to alleged breaches of the Scottish FA disciplinary rules.

"The panel adjourned the hearing, with three days set aside for both Mr Whyte and Rangers FC to attend on 17, 18 and 20 April.

"A procedural hearing has also been assigned for 6 April for Mr Whyte to lodge a substantive response and for representations to be made as to state of preparation."

The SFA charged Rangers and Whyte with seven breaches of its rules. The club is charged with five offences and the former chairman with two more between 6 May 2011 and 6 March 2012.

Lord Nimmo Smith's inquiry had found that Whyte was "not a fit and proper person" to own a football club.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan warned when announcing these findings that the club could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

And he said Rangers also faced disciplinary action unless they paid money owed to Dundee United for a Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox.

The notices of complaints issued to Rangers and Whyte allege breaches of rules concerning compliance with the SFA articles, insolvency, bringing the game into disrepute and "acting in the best interests of association football".

Rangers entered administration on 14 February and Duff and Phelps are currently assessing bids to buy the club.
If Whyte does not comply with the request, he will be considered to have committed another breach of SFA rules. In this instance, it would be Rule 105 which states “Any party who is subject to a direction from a Tribunal must follow that direction as so directed by the Tribunal. Any party who fails to do so, may be found to be in breach of this rule.” The maximum punishment for breaching Rule 105 is a £50,000 fine and suspension from football until compliance with the rule.

Whether Whyte appears next week remains to be seen though.


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