Monday 23 October 2017

Scottish Football chief has no regrets over handling of Rangers' financial collapse

A Rangers fan arrives at the stadium prior to kickoff during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on April 29, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
A Rangers fan arrives at the stadium prior to kickoff during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on April 29, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Gavin McCafferty

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan insisted he had no regrets over the way the financial collapse of Rangers was dealt with after Craig Whyte was acquitted of fraud.

Regan declined to express any reaction to the jury's decision following a six-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The court heard Whyte bought Rangers for a £1 in May 2011 and then agreed a £24million capital injection into the club from Ticketus, to be repaid from future season-ticket sales, in order to pay off the club's bank debt and tackle other obligations of the deal.

Whyte was found to be not fit and proper to run a football club but only after Rangers went into administration over an unpaid tax bill, which ultimately consigned them to liquidation.

The team carried on, albeit in the bottom tier of Scottish football, after the club's assets were sold by administrators and, when asked about the SFA's handling of the situation, Regan said: "No regrets.

"I think the situation that has unfolded over five years is regrettable. I think it was a unique set of circumstances that was presented to everybody involved at the time and we dealt with it in the best way we could.

"We considered the facts, we considered the issues and we took advice, and we came up with what in our view were the right steps."

Regan added: "The fact that five years on we are still talking about it shows just how long the process has taken. It has had a telling effect on Scottish football.

"We found Craig Whyte not to be a fit and proper person several years ago. He won't be coming back, he won't be involved with any football club, he won't be involved with any member of the Scottish FA.

"The rules and regulations are very clear. They have been strengthened in recent years."

The SFA banned Whyte from Scottish football for life in April 2012 and fined him £200,000, but the money has never been received. Whyte said at the time: "I couldn't care less. It makes no difference to my life whatsoever - and good luck collecting the money."

But Regan claims the SFA could now take legal action to pursue the money.

"That will be something we take advice on and, should the opportunity present itself, we would definitely consider that," he said.

"There's been a series of cases and challenges as far as Craig Whyte is concerned and the Scottish FA chose not to pursue that because the cost of recovering that could potentially outweigh the money that would be recovered.

"He was being challenged through bankruptcy proceedings and a whole host of other cases, so we chose not to pursue that. That is something to consider now."

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