Rangers demand answers

Rangers have demanded answers from the SFA after Hearts were spared financial punishment for going into administration.

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Hearts: More problems

Hearts: More problems

Rangers have demanded answers from the Scottish Football Association after Hearts were spared financial punishment for going into administration.

The Tynecastle club were issued with a new registration embargo by the SFA judicial panel for breaching insolvency rules.

But Rangers have asked for clarification after the Jambos were spared the cash fine dished out to the Ibrox club when it suffered its own financial meltdown last year.

The Glasgow outfit - before they went into liquidation - were hit with a fine and one-year transfer ban, the latter of which transferred to the newco club when they assumed the SFA membership.

In a statement released on the club's website, Rangers chief executive Craig Mather said: "Rangers Football Club notes today's verdict by the Disciplinary Tribunal who ruled that Hearts cannot register any players over the age of 21 between now and February 1, 2014.

"We also recall that Dunfermline were given a similar sanction in May.

"But in particular, Rangers are aware of the glaring differences in the sanctions imposed on three clubs who entered administration.

"Our club, Rangers, was hit with a £50,000 fine and given a 12-month registration embargo.

"While no-one at this club wishes to see others fall on hard times, questions must be asked about these anomalies and we fully understand the rising anger among our fans.

"They are entitled to think there is one rule for our club and another for everyone else. We will be seeking clarification for our fans."

Rangers' punishment came as a result of several charges relating to former owner Craig Whyte's decision to withhold tax payments of about £13million.

They were fined £50,000 for suffering an insolvency event and twice that figure for bringing the game into disrepute.

In the note of reasons explaining why Rangers had failed with their appeal against the fine in May last year, the independent Appellate Tribunal explained that aggravating factors relating to the "deliberate non-payment ... of tax" meant a mere registration embargo was not "proportionate".

Hearts are now battling their own fight against administration but have now been handed a new ban on signing players aged 21 and over until February 1 next year.

The club, whose true debt was yesterday revealed as almost £29million, cannot sign any player at the moment because of an automatic registration embargo which kicked in when they went into administration on June 19 under what were then Scottish Premier League rules.

Their extended transfer ban will be a blow to manager Gary Locke, who only has two outfield players aged over 21.

Hearts were also hit with an automatic 15-point penalty in June and Locke will be unable to immediately bring in experienced players if the club exits administration before the end of the January transfer window.

Joint-administrator Trevor Birch, who attended the judicial panel hearing at Hampden, was disappointed with the added sanction.

In a statement, he said: "The decision to impose a transfer embargo on players over 21 until the end of January is disappointing.

"Whilst I appreciate that the SFA rules state that clubs in administration will face sanctions, Hearts have already had a points deduction and player embargo - and it feels like we're being penalised twice.

"That said, these are the cards that we've been dealt and we'll now just have to get on with it.

"At least the decision gives us clarity and means that the bidders can move forward and focus their attention on refining their proposals rather than worrying about possible sanctions."

An administrators' report yesterday revealed that Hearts, whose Lithuanian directors have left the club, owe Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs £1.9million.

Locke earlier called for "common sense" to prevail ahead of the SFA disciplinary hearing.

The Gorgie boss, whose team kick off their Scottish Premiership survival bid at St Johnstone on Sunday, said: "We have got a 15-point deduction and theoretically we have close to an under-20 squad.

"So we have certainly been punished enough as far as I'm concerned.

"But at the end of the day we have done things that deserve to be punished.

"We have to take it on the chin. I hope we get some common sense and they can just let us crack on."


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