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Scottish Football League clubs voted to admit the Rangers to the Third Division Friday, but there are "still hoops for the Ibrox club to jump through" before they travel to Peterhead FC for their league opener on Aug. 11, according to Alan Campbell of the SUNDAY TIMES. The Rangers must first "secure membership of the Scottish Football Association," with talks expected to take place after Monday’s annual general meeting of the Scottish Premier League. That assembly is due to decide whether Dundee FC or Dunfermline FC "fulfill the fixtures allocated" to the newco Rangers. The more cynical of the SFL chairs "still cling to the belief" that the newco Rangers "will be invited in by their frightened SPL counterparts." Such an outcome "would destroy what vestiges of credibility Scottish football retains." Not least because owner Charles Green, Manager Ally McCoist and the bulk of the club’s fans "welcomed the SFL’s decision to admit Rangers" to the Third Division on Friday. It is understood that the SFA "will be happy to accept" Rangers’ application for membership (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/15).
SHOCK WAVES FELT: In Glasgow, Richard Bath reported that "the shock waves from Rangers’ fall from grace will resonate through every aspect of Scottish football -- and beyond." The ramifications "are severe" with a potential loss of between £16-17M ($25M-$26.5M) in sponsorship and TV income. Under the scenario outlined by the SPL, the prize money each SPL club will receive at the end of next season "will be less than 10% of that which they received at the end of last season." The center of the issue is the SPL TV rights deal with Sky and ESPN, which is worth £80M ($125M) over five years beginning in '13. The deal includes a clause "which insists that both Rangers and Celtic must play in the SPL." The deal is now expected to be "renegotiated downwards, or even be scrapped altogether." It isn't just about sponsorship and TV rights, either. The loss of Rangers to the SPL will cost the average SPL club just over 2% of its turnover through the loss of ticket sales for home games to Rangers (SCOTSMAN, 7/15). Also in Glasgow, Gordon Parks reported that St. Mirren FC predicted they could be one of five SPL clubs "plunged into administration within weeks" if newco Rangers move to Division Three. St. Mirren Chair Stewart Gilmour faces "a near impossible task" of balancing the books and fears SPL clubs Motherwell, Kilmarnock, Dundee United and Inverness are also "on the verge of going bust." Gilmour said, "Five clubs could be left in administration within weeks" (DAILY RECORD, 7/15).
REGAN UNDER FIRE: In Glasgow, Martin Hannan reported that SFA CEO Stewart Regan "was the subject of a proposed no-confidence vote" at Friday's SFL meeting. Regan was "facing calls to consider his position," with the men who proposed and seconded the no-confidence vote -- Livingston Chair Gordon McDougall and Cowdenbeath Secretary Alex Anderson -- calling for Regan to "think about his position." Anderson said: "The whole situation has disgusted me, the way it has been handled." The issue which has put Regan under pressure "is his vocal campaign to link league reconstruction with putting newco Rangers into the First Division." An SFL club dir said, "We were bullied and intimidated over the issue" (SCOTSMAN, 7/15). In London, Ewing Grahame reported that the pressure on Regan "intensified after more details of his attempts to launch the reincarnated Rangers into the First Division emerged." The item which "has caused the most anger" was his instruction to Hibernian CEO Rod Petrie to brief Green "confidentially" on the various isues so that there could be "no surprises" (TELEGRAPH, 7/14).