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SBD Global/July 4, 2012/Franchises

Secret Talks To Keep Rangers In SPL

Scottish football club Rangers and a breakaway group of SPL clubs were last night "on the brink of a compromise deal," which would secure the Ibrox club's place in the top flight, according to James Traynor of the Scottish DAILY RECORD. "Frantic talks were held in secret" between Charles Green and a number of SPL chairmen who fear at least three of their members could be shut down if Rangers newco are forced to begin life in the SFL Third Division. As much as £15M ($23.5M) could be "wiped off the value of their deals" with Sky and ESPN if Rangers are frozen out of the SPL for more than one season. Already they "fear being denied" the £645,000 ($1M) they are each due to receive from the TV companies on Aug. 6. Without that revenue and additional slices of the financial pie later in the year it is feared several SPL clubs, perhaps including Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Dundee United, "could be facing closure" (DAILY RECORD, 7/3). SKY SPORTS reported that St. Johnstone "dismissed suggestions" that the club will change their mind in opposing the admission of newco Rangers into the SPL. The Perth side issued a statement on their website insisting that their "position will not change, which will come as a hammer blow to Rangers" (SKY SPORTS, 7/3). In London, Gavin McCafferty reported that clubs such as Motherwell "warned that they could face an insolvency event" because of the collapse of Rangers, "even if they accept the newco club into the SPL." Motherwell, which was due to confirm the result of its fans' vote, said that "the loss of Rangers in the SPL next season could cost them up to £900,000 ($1.4M)," but voting the newco in and alienating loyal fans "would also lead to long-term financial damage" (INDEPENDENT, 7/3).

The London GUARDIAN reported that Rangers Chair Malcolm Murray "apologised to Scottish football for the problems the club's financial crisis has caused in recent months." Murray said, "[All] of us with the Rangers family are acutely aware that events at our club, brought about by people who are no longer here, have triggered a crisis in Scottish football." He added, "On behalf of  the new board of directors, I apologise unreservedly to all for the distress, disruption and difficulty inflicted on the football community, caused entirely by the actions of people who failed miserable to act responsibly during their stewardship of Rangers" (GUARDIAN, 7/3).
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