Rangers facing more sanctions

Better times... Walter Smith, in May 2011, after guiding Rangers to Scottish Premier League success (Getty)

Walter Smith believes Scottish Premier League proposals which could see Rangers hit with further heavy sanctions while retaining its place in the top flight, smack of hypocrisy.

The 12 clubs will meet on Monday to vote on financial fair play resolutions which would have an impact on clubs which go into administration or face the prospect of liquidation - a scenario which has not yet been ruled out for the Ibrox side.

If passed, the new rules would mean a 'newco' Rangers being deducted 10 points for two seasons if accepted straight back into the SPL, as well as seeing league payments slashed by 75% for three seasons.

Smith said: "The sanctions don't include Rangers not being in the league so there is a certain hypocrisy among the whole lot of them there.

"They have a situation where they still want the money that Rangers bring to the SPL but they will try to impose sanctions that will make it impossible for them to be competitive, or as competitive as they should be.

"I think the SPL have to be very careful in terms of how they handle the overall situation in case something similar could happen to other clubs."

The former Rangers manager also warned that relegation from the SPL would be a real possibility for his old club if the Scottish Football Association implement punishments handed down by its judicial panel.

The Glasgow giant has been hit with a fine of £160,000 and a 12-month embargo on registering players over 17 after being found guilty of five charges in relation to its finances and the appointment of Craig Whyte as chairman.

Smith said: "Rangers would be in danger of getting relegated.

"You can't play a team of kids in the SPL and hope to survive, never mind be successful.

"You would be looking at a year where people in the SPL would have a year of Rangers supporters' money going around the country and then they would be faced with, to my mind anyway, a fair chance of getting relegated."

He added: "I don't think we've seen the worst. If the sanctions that were imposed take place, and there are no new owners at the club, then there is obviously worse to come."

Smith called for the football authorities to take into account the reasons for Rangers' financial plight, after it was forced to call in the administrators over an unpaid tax bill accrued since Whyte's takeover.

He said: "If Rangers had been unable to pay their bills, then that would have been one instance to look at for going into administration, which would have been the same as the majority of Scottish clubs who have had that problem over recent years.

"But Rangers, at the end of May last year, had no debt whatsoever due to the fact that the bank debt had been paid off and they were paying all their bills.

"This situation that Rangers find themselves in is not an inability to pay their bills, it was from one person refusing to pay any bills. There is a difference.

"This situation has been created to cause the problem of administration.

"The SFA will need to take that into consideration. It's not a normal circumstance, it's not one where the club had an inability to pay their way.

"It has been the choice of an individual to take the club down that road and that's where there should be a different outlook."

Administrator Duff and Phelps has said the prospect of more sanctions has delayed further its hopes of naming a preferred bidder, with American tycoon Bill Miller and the Blue Knights still in the running to take over the club.

Asked if he felt liquidation was now almost inevitable for Rangers, Smith said: "The longer the situation goes on, it starts to become more inevitable it will happen.

"I don't think there is any doubt about that. I think everybody would like a quick resolution.

"That's one of the things about the sanctions that have been put in place, the timing of them makes it very difficult for the club.

"If there is an [SFA] appeal, when will it take place?

"I read yesterday that it may take place next week but that's a week or 10 days that's lost at a vital time for the administrators to try to find a buyer which, first and foremost, is going to determine where the future of Rangers will lie.

"It's not helping the club overall at this time to have these things going in the background at the same time."