24 Apr 2012

Rangers owner Craig Whyte: ‘I’m a scapegoat’

Rangers owner Craig Whyte is given a life ban from Scottish football and fined £200,000 but tells Channel 4 News he is being made a scapegoat and the punishment is “completely farcical”.

Craig Whyte has been hit with the most severe punishment dealt to an individual in the Scottish game.

The charges followed an Scottish Football Association-appointed independent inquiry, chaired by former judge Lord Nimmo Smith.

It ruled Whyte unfit to hold a position in the game over his seven-year disqualification as a director in 2000, which he failed to declare until November, six months after assuming control at Ibrox and six weeks after the existence of the ban emerged in a BBC documentary.

Whyte was fined £50,000 for bringing the game into disrepute and was handed three more identical fines on separate counts of failing to follow directions from an SFA tribunal.

Whyte, who has been told to pay his fines within 30 days, was also expelled for life from “any participation in Association Football in Scotland”.

Speaking to Channel 4 News Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson, Whyte described the punishment as “a joke and completely farcical”.

He added: “Yet again the Scottish Football Association is just looking for a scapegoat. I took no part in their process. I gave no documents.

“I bought Rangers for a pound when it was in a deep mess. I didn’t make it any worse.”

Read more: Rangers hearing a 'joke' says Whyte. Anyone for tennis?

Rangers punished

Rangers were fined a total of £160,000 and banned from signing players aged over 17 for 12 months after being found guilty of five out of six offences.

The club received their registration embargo and a £100,000 fine for breaching rule 66 – bringing the game into disrepute.

They received a £50,000 fine for going into administration and were fined £10,000 for failing to “procure” that Whyte acted within rules concerning fit and proper officials. The Rangers chairman failed to notify the SFA that he had been disqualified as a director for seven years in 2000.

Rangers administrator Paul Clark accused the SFA of punishing the club for Whyte’s actions, specifically over the failure to pay more than £14m in VAT and PAYE since he took over in May last year.

Although Whyte announced he was stepping down as chairman when Rangers went into administration in February, he still owns 85 per cent of the club’s shares, which he bought for £1.