Rangers suspend star after phone hoax

22 March 2013 04:46

Rangers on Friday suspended Francisco Sandaza after the Spanish striker admitted during a hoax telephone call that he would be willing to quit the fallen Scottish giants.

Sandaza declared details of his salary with the Third Division club and revealed he was open to joining a team at a higher level during a telephone conversation with a Celtic fan, who works as a taxi driver but was pretending to be a Los Angeles-based agent, which was broadcast online.

The 28-year-old, tempted by talk of a move to a US club, also told the hoaxer, who used the alias Jack McGonagle, that he earned £4500 ($6,858, 5,276 euros) a week at Rangers following his transfer from St Johnstone last year.

He also revealed that his wages would rise to £10000 a week in the final year of a four-year deal.

Sandaza said he was happy at Rangers, adding: "The money is good. The club is amazing - it is a very, very big club - and the supporters are amazing."

But he went on: "Obviously if I get a better league and more money I would go.

"I have been playing all my life to get a good contract for me and my family, so that is why I signed here. I wanted a contract that solved my life."

Sandaza admitted he was not happy with the football in the Third Division, adding: "I didn't sign for the level.

"I signed for the money and because they are a good club."

Rangers, relegated from the Scottish top-flight last year due to financial problems, reacted by asking Sandaza to stay away from Ibrox while they conduct an investigation into the incident.

"Francisco Sandaza has been suspended by the club pending an investigation into comments made by the player in a recorded telephone conversation," a club statement read.

"The club, Francisco and his agent have had discussions and manager Ally McCoist also spoke with the player, who did not take part in today's training session.

"Francisco will not return to the club while the investigation is under way.

"Rangers regard this is an extremely serious issue but there will be no further comment until the inquiry, which could take a week, has been completed."

Rangers boss McCoist, speaking ahead of his team's clash against Stirling Albion at Ibrox on Saturday when they could clinch the Third Division title, admitted the controversy was the last thing he needed.

"Fran has been suspended by the club on full wages pending an internal inquiry," he said.

"We are very hopeful that the inquiry won't last any more than a week but he has been suspended and won't be coming to Ibrox or Murray Park pending the investigation.

"We will be issuing a statement after the investigation, we will have more to say then.

"It is the last thing we need at this moment in time."

Asked if Sandaza could be sacked, McCoist added: "I have no idea. We will have to wait to see what the investigation unfolds."

Source: AFP

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