The administrators for Rangers Football Club said they will seek an immediate appeal of sanctions imposed on the Glasgow-based team by Scottish soccer’s governing body.
Administrators Duff & Phelps said the penalties issued yesterday by the Scottish Football Association, which include a yearlong ban on signing players over the age of 18, could have a “very detrimental” effect on a possible sale of the club, which was placed in bankruptcy protection two months ago.
“The decision to prohibit the club from signing new players is akin to a court ordering the administrator of a trading company not to buy stock.” David Whitehouse, one of the administrators, said in a statement today. “The principal operating and trading asset of a football club are its players and an inability to sign new players frustrates both the ability of the company to trade and the statutory objectives of administration.”
The SFA also banned Rangers owner Craig Whyte for life from involvement in Scottish soccer and fined the club 160,000 pounds ($258,000). The sanctions were issued after Whyte was declared an unfit person to run a soccer club by the governing body, which also accused the owner and the club of bringing the game into disrepute.
Whyte took control of the record 54-time Scottish champion last May with money he borrowed against future season-ticket sales. On Feb. 14 he placed the club in administration, a form of bankruptcy, as HM Revenue & Customs pursued it for unpaid taxes. The administrators have said the liability to U.K. tax authorities may reach 75 million pounds, with total potential debts of 134 million pounds.
Duff & Phelps are considering two bids for Rangers, from a group led by former club director Paul Murray, and from Bill Miller, founder of U.S.-based Miller Industries, a towing equipment company.
“The football authorities are fully aware that we are in the throes of an extremely complex insolvency situation,” Whitehouse said. “There has been widespread support across the political spectrum and in the football world for Rangers to be saved as a club and a viable business, last night’s decision can only hinder rather than help.”