Johnston urges caution over Rangers

Tue, 22 May 17:21:27 2012

Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston has further dampened expectations of heavy sanctions for a newco Rangers in the Scottish Premier League as he highlighted the "substantial penalties" already imposed on the administration-hit Ibrox club.

The SPL clubs are due to meet next Wednesday to vote on proposals for sanctions on newco clubs and increased penalties for clubs who go into administration.

Charles Green, who is fronting a Rangers ownership consortium, plans to push for a newco if a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) is rejected and there is a feeling among many non-Gers fans that if the club is allowed to remain in the SPL, its forfeit must be heavy.

However, SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster has laid the ground for leniency by claiming there is little difference between both exit routes from administration and Johnston has claimed new owners should not be hamstrung by punishments.

Rangers have already been fined £160,000 and had a 12-month signing ban imposed on them by the Scottish Football Association for financial irregularities and the loss of their UEFA licence means they miss out on a Champions League qualifying place next season.

Speaking to Press Association Sport at Rugby Park after manager Kenny Shiels signed a new two-year deal, Johnston flagged up those sanctions by way of addressing the Rangers dilemma faced by the SPL clubs.

"I am a solicitor by profession and in terms of the distinction between a CVA and a newco, it can become quite complicated but at the end of the day, from a creditors' point of view, there is maybe no difference," he said.

"In terms of how it affects a sporting competition, I do share the view and I think the football authorities have traditionally taken the view, that a football club is not to be identified 100% with the people that own it, or the corporate entity that owns it.

"A football club has its own identity which consists of various components - the history of the club, the stadium, the players but most importantly, the supporters. So you have got to be careful if you are trying to protect a football club which is a very long-standing and historical institution.

"You have got to be very careful not to come in too heavily with penalties and points deductions or financial penalties going forward which actually put people off investing in that club and trying to make it healthy. After all, it's not the new owners who have done the damage, it is the previous owners."


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