Posted: Monday April 23, 2012 6:24 PM

Rangers owner banned from football for life

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -Rangers was barred from signing players for 12 months and its owner banned for life from any involvement in Scottish football as part of a series of tough punishments imposed on the financially stricken Scottish club on Monday.

The record 54-time Scottish champions went into administration - a form of bankruptcy protection - in February with tax debts of 9 million pounds (then $14 million) having been accrued since Craig Whyte's takeover last May.

A disciplinary tribunal found Whyte in breach of two disciplinary rules between May 6, 2011, and March 6, 2012 and was fined 200,000 pounds ($320,000). Six weeks ago, he was described by the Scottish Football Association as "not a fit and proper person'' to be involved in the sport.

The yearlong transfer embargo was placed on the club after it was found to have breached five disciplinary rules in the same period. The ban excludes signing players under the age of 18.

Rangers, which was also fined a total of 160,000 pounds ($260,000), is facing liquidation if it doesn't find a new buyer before the end of the season.

"All of us working on behalf of the club are utterly shocked and dismayed by the draconian sanctions imposed on Rangers in respect of these charges,'' said Paul Clark, one of the club's administrators.

"For Rangers, a ban on signing players will seriously undermine the club's efforts to rebuild after being rendered insolvent. Furthermore, we do not know how bidders for the club will react to these sanctions and what effect they will have on their proposals.''

Both Rangers and Whyte have three days to appeal.

"I am surprised at how harsh the SFA have been on a club which is going through tough times at the moment,'' Whyte said.

 
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