SFA RESPOND TO MEETING CLAIM
The Scottish Football Association have responded to a claim by a Rangers supporters group that SFA chief executive Stewart Regan "disgracefully" walked out of a meeting with them at Hampden on Thursday.
Regan met with the Rangers Fans Working Group (RFWG) on the same day it was announced that the SFA had adjourned their hearing into Craig Whyte and the administration-hit Ibrox club until next month after Whyte's lawyers asked for more time to prepare a case.
The hearing came as a result of Lord Nimmo Smith's independent inquiry into Rangers which ended with the SFA charging the Govan club and owner Whyte with seven breaches of its rules.
The club is charged with five offences and Whyte, ruled unfit by the SFA to be a club official, with two.
Rangers still await the outcome of a Scottish Premier League investigation into the alleged non-disclosure of payments to players since 1998.
An SFA statement claimed that "unacceptable" conduct by some members of the fans' group led to Regan cutting their meeting short.
It is understood that Regan was also unhappy with continued reference to SFA bias.
In the statement, an SFA spokesman said: "We agreed to meet the Rangers Fans' Working Group at their request, in good faith and in the interests of openness and transparency.
"The discussions initially focused on the proactive work of the Rangers Fans' Working Group in addressing unacceptable conduct, especially relating to singing and chanting.
"The group were keen to understand what the Scottish FA were able to do to address this issue across the wider game.
"The group then focused on the current financial plight of the club, their lack of leadership under the administrators and the potential disciplinary matters being addressed by both the Scottish FA and the SPL.
"They were keen to understand how the Scottish FA could assist the club and struggled to accept that it was the governing body's responsibility to address breaches of the Articles irrespective of the club's administrative status.
"Ultimately, some of the group's own conduct at yesterday's meeting proved unacceptable.
"It was a major disappointment to the chief executive that a cordial meeting descended into the type of questioning and intemperate language more suited to internet forums.
"The chief executive reiterated during the meeting that he was not prepared to endure comments that implied bias towards the Scottish FA and its staff.
"Despite this, a further comment about there 'not being a level playing field' was made.
"The final straw was an embarrassing outburst from one member of the group that served only to undermine their credibility as a collective representative body supposedly serving the best interests of the wider Rangers support.
"It is disappointing that this behaviour ruined what should have been a constructive introductory discussion."
Earlier on Friday, the RFWG released a statement which referred to a "widespread feeling amongst the Rangers support that the SFA administration was not impartial."
The statement read: "Stewart Regan, the chief executive of the SFA, disgracefully walked out of a meeting with the Rangers Fans Working Group at Hampden yesterday afternoon.
"Mr Regan was being closely questioned about the lack of practical help the SFA was rendering to one of its member clubs in administration.
"Earlier in the meeting he had twice threatened to walk out when his point of view was being challenged.
"The meeting with Mr Regan fell into two distinct parts. The first was to discuss the mechanisms for ensuring that the record of good behaviour by Rangers fans was encouraged by the implementation of standards and good practice across the board in Scottish football.
"The second was specifically to do with the treatment of Rangers whilst the club is in administration."
The fans group feel it is unfair that proceedings are being taken against the club while it is in administration.
Their statement added: "Similarly, it was noted that there was a widespread feeling amongst the Rangers support that the SFA administration was not impartial and that any sanctions taken against the club at this time were likely to be perceived as unfair.
"The Fans Working Group consider that our concerns were put forward in a sensible and helpful manner and are therefore both shocked and disappointed that Mr Regan chose to behave in such an unprofessional manner."
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