Murray: No SFA agreement

  • Last Updated: July 20 2012, 23:07 BST

Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray has insisted no final agreement has been reached over the club's transfer embargo despite the Scottish Football Association's earlier announcement that the newco have accepted a 12-month ban.

Ally McCoist: Still in limbo

Scottish football's governing body said Charles Green's newco - owned by Sevco Scotland Ltd - had agreed to a ban beginning on September 1 as a "primary condition" of gaining membership of the SFA, and therefore being granted permission to play in the Irn-Bru Third Division next season.

The agreement, which remains subject to final ratification, appeared to give Gers manager Ally McCoist the green light to add to his threadbare squad ahead of the embargo coming into force.

But in a fresh twist to the Rangers saga, the club released a statement in which Murray claimed the SFA's announcement was "premature".

"Board members, the manager and senior executives from the club have been meeting with the SFA this week with the sole purpose of ensuring the long-term future of Rangers," Murray said in a statement on club website rangers.co.uk.

"For clarity, we have not signed any agreement yet and therefore believe the SFA's statement to be premature."

The embargo - plus a £160,000 fine - was handed down to Rangers by the SFA's independent appellate tribunal for a range of offences, chief among which was the club's failure to pay tax under former owner Craig Whyte.

The Ibrox club successfully challenged the ban in the Court of Session, who ruled the sanction was not open to the SFA, who referred the matter back to the tribunal.

Punishments available to the tribunal included expulsion from the game and termination of membership of the SFA, and the SFA said such sanctions persuaded the newco to accept the embargo.

"The Scottish FA can tonight clarify the position surrounding the outstanding appellate tribunal related to Rangers FC Oldco," the SFA statement read.

"It has been agreed with Sevco Scotland Ltd that the registration embargo will be accepted as a primary condition of a transfer of membership.

"The Scottish FA indicated to Sevco Scotland Ltd that they had to accept responsibility for any sanctions arising out of this case as a condition of transfer of membership.

"Rather than convening the appellate tribunal to determine from the sanctions available to it, the company directors of Sevco Scotland Ltd have chosen to accept the 12-month registration embargo.

"This embargo will begin on 1st September 2012 and end on 31st August 2013.

"The conditional offer of transfer will now be submitted to the appellate tribunal for its consideration.

"This will form part of the approval process for the transfer of membership which, once approved, will enable Rangers FC to take a considerable step towards participating in Irn Bru Division Three."

Murray said that while the club had indeed provisionally accepted the transfer embargo, it was a decision taken in a bid to ward off even sterner sanctions.

"It is important for everyone, but most importantly our fans, to understand that the SFA said it would only transfer the membership to play football if we accepted some form of additional sanctions for the sins of previous regimes," he said.

"The choice is stark - take sanctions or risk not playing football at all. We do not wish to gamble with the club's future so, under duress, we have taken the difficult decision to accept some sanctions in order to move forward.

"A delayed transfer ban would be a bitter pill to swallow and will only be agreed to if the alternative is no football.

"We would have a window in which to sign players enabling the manager to strengthen the squad which is critical for the club to start the process of rebuilding."

The crisis gripping the Ibrox club has already led to the departures of key players such as Steve Davis, Kyle Lafferty, Jamie Ness, Steven Whittaker, Steven Naismith and John Fleck, with Allan McGregor, among others, set to follow.

And once the blood-letting is over, Murray hopes the club will soon be able to focus on matters on the pitch.

"Whilst we are deeply frustrated that the club and the new owners will have to accept some punishments for the sins of previous regimes, we are at the point where we have to move forward and get back playing football," he said.

"We will all continue to work hard over the coming days in order to begin the season and play our first match next Sunday.

"Rangers fans around the world have been tremendous in their support for the Club over the last six months - through what has been an horrendous period in our history.

"To move forward we must all now rally behind the manager and club through this rebuilding process."