Fans' group call for Rangers chief Wallace to be suspended

RANGERS fans have called for chief executive Graham Wallace to be suspended after police launched an investigation into claims he misled shareholders over the state of the club's finances.

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Graham Wallace has come under renewed fire from Rangers fans
Graham Wallace has come under renewed from from Rangers fans

Investment banker and shareholder Phil Maher has contacted the authorities to complain about comments made by Wallace at Rangers' AGM on December 19 last year when he stated the League One club had enough money to see out the season.

The Ibrox board were forced to take out loans totalling £1.5million just two months later and now Police Scotland have launched a probe into whether Wallace has breached the Companies Act.

The Light Blues chief made public the details of his business review last week and claimed that uncertainty over season ticket sales, due to a proposal from Dave King and the Union of Fans to pool supporters' cash this summer, was behind the decision by processing company FirstData to withdraw debit and credit card services to fans looking to renew their briefs.

It is understood, however, that FirstData alerted Rangers on January 23 that they would require security before sanctioning these payments, a full month before King and the fans launched their season ticket trust plans.

Fears over the financial stability of Rangers International Football Club plc, which posted a £14.4million loss in December, and a proposal by Wallace for Ally McCoist's squad to take a 15% pay cut forced FirstData into action, despite Wallace's claims that 'negative coverage' around season tickets was to blame.

The Ibrox chief hit back at claims by shareholder Sandy Easdale that Rangers' finances were 'fragile' and that the club would not survive a second administration, and the Union of Fans have called for chairman David Somers to act.

Now the UoF have called for an explanation of Wallace's statement to shareholders.

A statement read: "It is time for Mr Somers, our absent chairman, to step forward and clear up this mess.

"He must suspend Mr Wallace pending the conclusion of police investigations.

"He must deal with the serious questions over Sandy Easdale's role and why he is being treated like a privileged PLC board member when he is simply a minority shareholder with undue influence.

"He should also inform shareholders and fans whether the board as a whole was aware that the reason given to the London Stock Exchange for the need for security to obtain credit and debit card facilities was misleading.

"He is responsible for the total lack of corporate governance on this board and must act now or his own reputation will be irrevocably damaged."

The pressure has built on Wallace in recent days, with many fans left bemused by the findings of his business review that showed Rangers had burned through almost £70million in the 18 months since their Stock Market flotation.

The chief executive confirmed that redundancies would have to be made to the non-playing staff at Ibrox while defending his own six-figure remuneration and bonus package and pledging to help boss McCoist strengthen his squad for the Championship next season.

Wallace targeted the 2016/17 SPFL Premiership title and pledged to hire a Chief Football Operations Officer but supporters have not been won over by the promise of on-field success in the midst of more financial problems at Ibrox.

The UoF said: "Mr Wallace's '120 day' review could have been written by any Rangers fan before Mr Wallace even took up his position. It is full of vague promises for the future which read like a wish list from a fans' forum.

"Whilst much of the content in terms of football progress is certainly desirable, there is a complete lack of any detail as to how this board can achieve it.

"They have provided no evidence that they can raise the necessary funds to take the club forward and we have no confidence in them to do so."

The details of Wallace's 120-day review were made public just hours after Sandy Easdale cast fresh doubt over the financial picture at Rangers as thousands of fans refuse to renew their season tickets.

Wallace, who replaced Craig Mather as chief executive last year, laid the blame for the multi-million cash burn at the old Ibrox hierarchy but fans have questioned the role of Easdale who, unlike brother James, is not a member of the RIFC plc board.

The UoF added: "We note Mr Wallace's criticism of previous boards. James Easdale sat on the previous board from July of last year.

"Is he now going to be removed?

"Sandy Easdale became a de facto member of the previous board in September last year and has clearly had unprecedented and unjustifiable access to the PLC's financial details since.

"His public statements just prior to the review showed that he has access to information he should not, were share price sensitive and showed the utter lack of corporate governance being enforced by Mr Somers in his role as chairman."

In response to the allegations towards Wallace, a Rangers spokesman said: "Mr Wallace has no knowledge of a complaint, which if put to the football club, has no grounds. The outcome of Mr Wallace's Business Review published by Rangers on Friday gave a comprehensive overview of the circumstances surrounding his arrival at the Club and the financial assumptions made at the time."

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