SFA panel pair quit over Rangers embargo row

TWO members of the three-man SFA panel which imposed a 12-month transfer embargo on Rangers will play no further part in the case.

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Lord Carloway
Lord Carloway

Lord Carloway and Spartans chairman Craig Graham will be replaced if, or when, the SFA's Appellate Tribunal reconvenes to consider the transfer ban again.

The panel was ruled to have acted outwith its powers by Lord Glennie when Rangers challenged the SFA in the Court of Session.

SportTimes understands Lord Carloway was unhappy that his verdict was contradicted by another judge and wrote to the SFA to inform them he would no longer be available for any future cases. Graham could not consider the case again because of the possibility that suspending or expelling the oldco Rangers' SFA membership (which the newco club seeks to take over) could create a vacant league place for which his own club, Spartans, could seek to apply.

Graham removed himself rather than face a conflict of interest, although he will remain available to the SFA for future cases.

Only former Partick Thistle chairman Allan Cowan remains of the three-man Appellate Tribunal which upheld the decision by an earlier SFA panel to ban Rangers from signing any player over the age of 18 for 12 months.

Glennie's Court of Session verdict ruled the case should be returned to the Appellate Tribunal rather than to the original panel which imposed the transfer ban in April.

However, the same three men cannot now hear the case again.

That means two new individuals from the dozens who comprise the SFA's Judicial Panel will have to be drafted in to study the entire case along with Cowan and deliver another verdict.

Glennie concluded that only the specific punishments laid down in the SFA's rulebook for the charges Rangers faced – namely a fine, expulsion from the Scottish Cup or suspension or termination of membership – could be applied to the club.

The extent of the SFA sanctions imposed on Rangers for charges of bringing the game into disrepute (mainly relating to non-payment of over £13m in taxes under former owner Craig Whyte last season) has become a central point in the ongoing discussions about securing the newco club's licence and SFA membership.

During three days of talks this week, the newco representatives have so far failed to accept the imposition of the 12-month signing ban – which could still be applied if the club accepted it, despite Glennie's ruling – as a condition of their SFA membership being ratified.

The newco club runs the risk of the Appellate Tribunal reconvening and imposing an even tougher penalty, such as withholding the newco club's ability to play any football at all.

The SFA could grant the newco Rangers' licence and membership – if the governing body receives the answers it wants on the identity of those involved in chief executive Charles Green's consortium.

This would allow the season to begin with the newco playing at Brechin City in the Ramsdens Cup next weekend.

However, unless the newco representatives change their attitude to accepting the 12-month embargo, it seems highly unlikely that the Appellate Tribunal can sit again before the season is due to begin in only eight days' time.

Sport

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