UK & World News
Rangers Ban: Panellist's Shock Over Threats
A Scottish Football Association panel member has publicly spoken about threats made to him and two other colleagues after the trio imposed a year-long transfer embargo on Rangers FC.
Raith Rovers director Eric Drysdale was among three SFA panel members who received threatening and abusive messages after their names were leaked on the web.
The identities of the panellists had initially been kept secret, in accordance with the way the SFA panel operates.
Mr Drysdale has confirmed he is one of the trio. Sky News knows the names of the other individuals concerned, but has chosen not to identify them.
Mr Drsydale told Sky News that emails sent to his football club were threatening in tone at least, if not in content, and that he had received a couple of silent mobile phone calls.
He did not attend work because he was being briefed by anti-terrorism officers on his personal security and the precautions he should be taking.
"When we reached a decision we were conscious that we weren't going to please everybody... we knew there would be some sort of reaction, but the level of reaction has surprised me," Mr Drysdale said.
"Certainly Strathclyde Police and Tayside Police have taken the threats seriously and they have been of good assistance to me."
After the SFA fined Rangers and banned the club from signing new players, manager Ally McCoist accused the panel of potentially killing the club and called for their names to be released.
On Tuesday, referring to the judicial panel members, he told the club's website: "Who are these people? I want to know who these people are.
"I'm a Rangers supporter and the Rangers supporters and the Scottish public deserve to know who these people are, people who are working for the SFA."
In the wake of the threats, he issued a further statement saying: "I would not for one moment want anyone to interpret my remarks as a signal to engage in any form of threatening behaviour.
"No Rangers supporter should get themselves involved in it - not now nor at any time. Our focus has got to be firmly on ensuring that the club's case in appealing the sanctions imposed on us is put forward robustly and in the appropriate manner."
In a statement, McCoist said of the threats: "Such activity disgusts me and anyone who engages in it does Rangers Football Club nothing but harm."
In response to the threats, the SFA said in a statement: "We are deeply concerned that the safety and security of judicial panel members appointed to a recent tribunal has been compromised by a wholly irresponsible betrayal of confidential information.
"The judicial panel consists of volunteers from across the spectrum of sport and business in Scotland.
"They are appointed on the basis of anonymity yet all three panel members have reported intrusion into their personal and work lives, including abusive and threatening communication.
"This has been extended to directors of the Scottish FA, whose private details have been published on internet sites and who have, themselves, been victims of abusive communication.
"This culminated tonight in a visit by Strathclyde Police, who are taking seriously the threats made towards the individuals involved. We are thankful for their advice and support in these matters."
Over two months ago, Rangers announced they had formally entered administration, but insisted they would continue to exist as a football club.