Rangers hit with transfer embargo

Rangers have been hit with a 12-month embargo on signing players and owner Craig Whyte has been banned for life following a Scottish Football Association hearing into the club’s financial affairs.

Administration-hit Rangers have also been fined a total of £160,000 while Whyte, who had already been deemed unfit to hold an official position in the game by the SFA, was handed fines totalling £200,000.

The SFA said their judicial panel would issue reasons for their findings in "early course" while both parties have three days to appeal following receipt of those reasons.

Whyte was defiant when asked for his reaction to the punishment on him and Rangers.

He said: "Tell me how it is going to affect me? I couldn’t care less. It makes no difference to my life whatsoever – and good luck collecting the money.

"It’s a joke.

"It is very harsh on Rangers. I am surprised at how harsh the SFA have been on a club which is going through tough times at the moment.

"Stewart Regan (chief executive) and Campbell Ogilvie (president) should resign and get out of Scottish football.

"The SFA want to kick Rangers when they are down and I hope people remember that. They are playing to the media.”

Duff and Phelps, joint administrators of Rangers Football Club, condemned the ruling as "draconian" in a statement on Monday night.

Paul Clark, joint administrator, said: "All of us working on behalf of the Club are utterly shocked and dismayed by the draconian sanctions imposed on Rangers in respect of these charges.

"It appears that on one hand the disciplinary panel accepted our central argument that responsibility for bringing the Club into disrepute lay with the actions of one individual – Craig Whyte – as is evident from the unprecedented punishment meted out to him.

"During this hearing the Club produced compelling evidence from a number of sources that following his takeover, Craig Whyte ran the Club in a thoroughly unaccountable manner, rather than adhering to a long-established and proper form of corporate governance.

"The thrust of the charges against the Club focused on non-payment of payroll taxes and evidence was produced that all such decisions in this area were taken by Craig Whyte during his tenure.

"Given this evidence, it is difficult to comprehend that the disciplinary panel has seen fit

to effectively punish the Club even more heavily than Mr Whyte. As everyone knows, it has already been decided he is not a fit and proper person to run a football club and any further punishment on him will have little or no impact.

"However, for Rangers, a ban on signing players will seriously undermine the Club’s efforts to rebuild after being rendered insolvent.

"Furthermore, we do not know how bidders for the Club will react to these sanctions and what affect they will have on their proposals.

"The Club has asked for full written reasons for these decisions and intend to appeal against the findings."

Rangers administration timeline:

February 13 – Rangers lodge their intention to go into administration at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Owner Craig Whyte says the bill for the major tax case over the use of Employee Benefit Trusts under Sir David Murray could amount to £75million.

February 14 – Rangers appoint administrators Duff and Phelps after a court battle with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. They are immediately docked 10 points by the Scottish Premier League, leaving them 14 behind Celtic. Murray expresses surprise at the timing of the club’s move into administration.

Duff and Phelps reveal that HMRC lodged their petition to take Rangers into administration over the non-payment of about £9million PAYE and VAT since Whyte’s 2011 takeover.

February 15 – Administrators reassure fans that Rangers will continue as a football club.

February 16 – Administrators reveal "several expressions of interest from parties not connected to the club" and express concerns over Whyte’s running of the club.

February 17 – Whyte expresses confidence that investigations will prove "every penny has been accounted for".

The Scottish Football Association launch an independent inquiry into the activities of Rangers, specifically whether Whyte is "fit and proper" to hold a position in the game. Rangers are denied permission to re-sign striker Daniel Cousin, whose impending arrival they had announced before going into administration.

February 18 – Manager Ally McCoist welcomes the SFA inquiry after his side’s 1-0 defeat against Kilmarnock at Ibrox.

February 21 – It is confirmed that the club’s £18million bank debt was paid off with future season ticket money from Ticketus, a fact Whyte had denied three weeks earlier.

February 22 – Rangers director Dave King meets administrators.

February 23 – Rangers director of football Gordon Smith and chief operating officer Ali Russell agree to leave the club. Strathclyde Police receive a report from administrators over the club’s financial dealings.

February 26 – McCoist speaks of his pride after his players put smiles back on the faces of those involved with the club with a 4-1 win at Inverness.

February 27 – Rangers are fined £50,000 by the PLUS Stock Exchange for failing to disclose owner Whyte was previously disqualified as a director.

March 1 – Ticketus call for a "rapid and successful conclusion" to the administration process and say they are willing to hold talks with any potential new owners.

March 2 – The SFA confirm they will investigate claims made by former Rangers director Hugh Adam that payments made to players were not disclosed to the governing body. Duff and Phelps postpone a final decision on cuts after refusing an offer from players to defer wages.

March 3 – Administrators say redundancies are "likely" as Rangers lose 2-1 at home to Hearts.

March 5 The Scottish Premier League have confirmed that their board have instigated an investigation into the alleged non-disclosure of payments made to players by Rangers. Rangers administrators consider a proposal from players overnight after failing to reach consensus over wage cuts.

March 6 – Joint administrator David Whitehouse says they have been unable to reach an agreement on a wage-cut plan and that talks will continue on Wednesday, although Mervan Celik and Gregg Wylde both offer to leave the club.

March 7 – Rangers director Dave King claims liquidation is inevitable. Duff & Phelps announce they are accelerating the sale of the club after failing to agree cost-cutting measures with the playing staff, while joint administrator Paul Clark says there is "no realistic prospect" of the club being able to meet criteria needed to play in European competition next season by the March 31 deadline.

March 8 – The SFA declare Whyte is unfit to hold a position in football and confirm that the club is facing a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

March 9 – Rangers administrators announce a package of wage cuts with players that have "directly prevented substantial job losses among non-playing staff both at Ibrox and Murray Park".

March 15 – The SFA issue Rangers with notices of complaint over alleged breaches of five disciplinary rules and Rangers chairman Craig Whyte over two alleged breaches.

March 29 – Hearing set up to determine whether Whyte breached SFA disciplinary rules is adjourned until April 17.

April 4 – Duff and Phelps confirm they received four bids for the club.

April 11 – Duff and Phelps confirm they have been forced to delay the announcement of a preferred bidder for the Ibrox club due to proposed changes to Scottish Premier League rules.

April 19 – Brian Kennedy is told his revised verbal bid for Rangers is not "capable of acceptance".

April 23 – Rangers receive a 12-month embargo on signing players and owner Craig Whyte is banned for life.