Livingston want transfer ban lifted

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Livingston have called on the SFA to remove their transfer embargo after informing officials that majority shareholder Neil Rankine has sold his shares in the club.

The Championship side are banned from registering or re-registering players after Rankine, whose company Livingston 5 Ltd had a 50 per cent shareholding in Livi, was found guilty in April of having a controlling interest in League Two side, East Fife.

The Lions were advised that any embargo would remain in place until Rankine had proved he had disposed of his interests in either club. However, it is believed that the 63-year-old, who is on holiday in Italy, has signed the necessary paperwork over to a group of businessmen who will now take control of proceedings through a community ownership model, similar to the one deployed at Hearts, which is believed to be the preference in leading the club forward.

A letter sent from the club’s lawyers to the Judicial Panel expressed the “serious detrimental effect” the embargo was having on the club with almost all of the first-team squad’s contracts having expired on May 31 – goalkeeper Darren Jamieson, midfielder Scott Pittman and striker Jordan White those who still have one year to run on their deals.

While some clubs have already been active in the transfer market ahead of the new season which gets under way in August, Livi have just three registered players with those individuals scheduled to report back for pre-season training on June 17. Manager Mark Burchill has also verbally agreed a new two-year contract but is still yet to put pen to paper.

Livingston were also hit with a five-point deduction last season for tax irregularities, the club eventually preserving their Championship status with a 1-0 win over Queen of the South at the beginning of last month.