RANGERS chairman Dave King has been heavily sanctioned for the way he took control of the club by the official body which governs takeovers.

The takeover panel has ordered that the Ibrox chief be "cold-shouldered", effectively banning him from working with any business or professional regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority on any transactions covered by the takeover code.

Mr King was found to be in breach of the rules governing takeovers following a long dispute with the panel.

The body found that, despite his protestations, he had acted in concert with others to gather a level of shareholding which should have required him to launch a full bid for the club.

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The ruling is a serious blow to Mr King's reputation, and will affect his business activities for four years - the period the sanction remains in place.

It is akin to being blackballed by the business establishment, with many FCA members now unlikely to work with the South Africa-based businessman.

Cold-shouldering has only been ordered twice by the panel in the last 50 years, with Dundee FC given the sanction in the 1990s. 

However, the panel said that it should not affect Rangers as a whole. The judgement said: "For the avoidance of doubt it should be said that other than in the unlikely event that the holding in Rangers which Mr King owns or controls reaches a size that enables him to control Rangers personally, the sanction will apply to Mr King as an individual and not to Rangers." 

The judgement states: “The Executive’s case is that it is to be inferred from Mr King’s overall conduct that he is a person who is not likely to comply with the Code and accordingly that the Committee should so declare. Such a declaration would trigger the sanction known colloquially as “cold-shouldering”, a sanction which the Executive submits should remain in place for not less than 5 years.”

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It continued: "We would also add that Mr King’s prolonged refusal to procure a Rule 9 offer, along with his conduct in dealing with the Executive during its initial investigation into a possible concert party, were offences of the utmost seriousness for which a statement of public censure would not be a sufficient sanction."   

However, the panel said that it should not affect Rangers as a whole. The judgement said: "For the avoidance of doubt it should be said that other than in the unlikely event that the holding in Rangers which Mr King owns or controls reaches a size that enables him to control Rangers personally, the sanction will apply to Mr King as an individual and not to Rangers." 

In a statement, Dave King said: Rangers supporters already know that my problems with the Takeover Panel arose directly as a result of the steps I took to protect and safeguard Rangers Football Club from the forces that were bent on destroying it at that time.

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"Indeed, the complaint against me was initiated by the RIFC Board at that time (chaired by David Somers) in an attempt to prevent my efforts – along with other notables – to bring about regime change. Despite this latest sanction (and having to spend more than 1 million in litigation costs) I have no regrets whatsoever that I chose to follow this path. The present resurgent state of Rangers is sufficient reward for me.

"It is important to note that in its findings the Hearings Committee found no evidence of detriment to RIFC’s shareholders and further noted that any non-compliance by me with the rules of the Takeover Panel was not motivated by financial gain or commercial advantage. Quite the opposite. My investment was motivated – to quote the Hearings Committee – “solely for the love of the club.”