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Rangers director yet to be passed 'fit and proper' by SFA

Businessman Alastair Johnston has been in position at Ibrox since June 2017.

Fit and proper: A decision on Alastair Johnston is still pending.
Fit and proper: A decision on Alastair Johnston is still pending. SNS Group

Rangers director Alastair Johnston has been serving as a member of the club's board for nine months but has yet to be approved as a "fit and proper person" by the Scottish FA.

The businessman returned to Ibrox last year to take a seat on the board and was present at the club's AGM in November. 

However, the position has not yet been rubber-stamped by the authorities at Hampden, with an investigation into the UEFA licensing process holding up a decision.

Companies House documents show Johnston was appointed as a director on June 12, 2017 and a document from November last year states he holds a position that "has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the company".

Johnston's past as a member of the Rangers oldco board has led to his application being put on hold by the governing body, pending the outcome of an investigation into the Scottish FA's handling of Rangers' UEFA licence application in 2011.

The US-based Scot was appointed as chairman of Rangers on August 29, 2009 and was removed from his position on May 24, 2011, following Craig Whyte's takeover. He had already criticised Whyte and said he would stand down at the end of the season.

Johnston was chairman when the club applied to participate in UEFA competition that year but there are questions surrounding Rangers' tax obligations at that time and what was declared on their licence application.

UEFA rules state clubs applying to play in Europe should have "no payables overdue" to tax authorities, but do allow applications to progress if amounts are in dispute.

Rangers said at the time of their application in 2011 they had no overdue payables but that they were in dispute with HMRC over their liability from a Discounted Option Scheme, known as "the Wee Tax Case", which was in use from 2000 to 2002.

However, in court testimony given during the Craig Whyte trial, Rangers and Murray Group directors stated the club knew the tax bill was overdue in November 2010, months before their UEFA licence application.

Following the court case, the Scottish FA took legal advice from a QC before referring the matter to their compliance officer to investigate whether the governing body had acted correctly when processing the licence application.

Former Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan noted in a letter to clubs, informing them of the investigation: "There seem to be contradictions between those [court] statements and written representations made by oldco at the time of the licence application and during the monitoring period".

Johnston is the third person to join the Rangers board who had been a director at Ibrox before the financial collapse at Ibrox in 2012.

Paul Murray was a director from 2007 until May 2011, leaving the club after Craig Whyte's takeover was complete. His status as a "fit and proper" person was approved by the Scottish FA ' Professional Game Board".

Rangers chairman Dave King became a non-executive director of the oldco in 2000 after becoming an investor in the club but ended his association in 2012.

Following the takeover of the newco in 2015, King became chairman of the club after being approved by the full board of the Scottish FA, who said that the decision had been made after "unprecedented" due diligence and after it "sought and received specialist independent legal advice, both in Scotland and South Africa, in respect of Mr King's conviction further to the South African Income Tax Act and in relation to his previous involvement as a director of the club."

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