LIVINGSTON have been banned from registering players by the Scottish Professional Football League over an allegation concerning undeclared bonus payments in the region of £30,500.

The ban has been imposed just days after the Almondvale club were hit with a notice of complaint from the Scottish Football Association thanks to apparent breaches of five disciplinary rules surrounding the shareholding of Neil Rankine, who it is claimed also holds 'interests' in East Fife and Dumbarton. Following Friday's SFA move, a principal hearing has been scheduled for September 10.

The latest matter, however, has come to light after a member of the West Lothian side's board, understood to be vice-chairman Robert Wilson, wrote to both the SFA and the SPFL to volunteer evidence of the bonus payments, which it is claimed former chief executive Ged Nixon made without the knowledge of other directors.

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Nixon is currently suing Livingston for £311,000 he believes is due to him in loan repayments following an acrimonious split from the club last year and opted not to make any comment when contacted yesterday. Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall was similarly unwilling to discuss the issue.

Rankine has indicated that should Livingston lose the court case with Nixon, which has been scheduled for March, they could be plunged into administration for a third time in the club's history.