Posted on Apr 25
The judicial panel who imposed a one-year transfer embargo on Rangers, that manager Ally McCoist said could "kill" the club, have been given police advice after threats were made against them.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) lamented a "wholly irresponsible betrayal of confidential information" that had left the three-strong panel at risk.
An SFA spokesperson said: "We are deeply concerned that the safety and security of judicial panel members appointed to a recent tribunal has been compromised by a wholly irresponsible betrayal of confidential information.
"The judicial panel consists of volunteers from across the spectrum of sport and business in Scotland.
"They are appointed on the basis of anonymity yet all three panel members have reported intrusion into their personal and work lives, including abusive and threatening communication.
"This has been extended to directors of the Scottish FA, whose private details have been published on internet sites and who have, themselves, been victims of abusive communication.
"This culminated tonight (Wednesday) in a visit by Strathclyde Police, who are taking seriously the threats made towards the individuals involved. We are thankful for their advice and support in these matters."
News of the police intervention came just a day after an angry McCoist, a former Rangers and Scotland striker, had called for the panel's identities to be made public.
"Who are these people? I want to know who these people are," he told Rangers TV. "I'm a Rangers supporter and the Rangers supporters and the Scottish public deserve to know who these people are, people who are working for the SFA."
Rangers went into administration two months ago, prompting a raft of drastic measures including players agreeing to wage cuts of up to 75 per cent to avoid redundancies.
Amid efforts to attract a new owner, the SFA on Monday hit Rangers with a £160,000 ($260,000, 195,000 euro) fine and a 12-month embargo on registering players aged over 17 after finding the club guilty of five charges in relation to their finances and the appointment of Craig Whyte, whom they banned for life from any future involvement in Scottish football, as chairman.
Administrators are appealing against the SFA decision but McCoist fears the worst if the verdict stands.
"I am staggered at the severity of the punishment," he said. "This decision could kill our football club, simple as that. Make no mistake about it."
Now many of Rangers' players could leave at the end of the season after having clauses inserted into contracts during wage-cut negotiations.
US businessman Bill Miller and the Blue Knights group led by former Rangers director Paul Murray are still vying to buy the club after Singapore's Bill Ng scrapped his £20 million offer last week in frustration at the bidding process.
According to a report by administrators Duff and Phelps released earlier this month, Rangers' total debt could amount to £134 million, with the 140-year-old club awaiting the outcome of a tax tribunal case that could cost them £75 million.
Entering administration meant Rangers were docked 10 points -- a move that effectively conceded the Scottish Premier League (SPL) title they held at the start of the season to arch rivals Celtic, recently crowned champions.