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SBD Global/January 10, 2013/International Football

Rangers Think Of Leaving Scottish Football After Not Being Invited To Restructure Talks

Scottish Third Division Rangers CEO Charles Green "has claimed the club should investigate the prospect of leaving Scottish football," according to Ewan Murray of the London GUARDIAN. Plans "are afoot to implement two divisions of 12 and a bottom tier of 18, possibly as early as next season, in the Scottish game." Rangers "object to that and have been irked by the fact they were not invited to talks relating to that issue at Hampden Park on Tuesday." Even if Rangers win this season's Third Division, as is almost certain, they "would remain in the lowest league if reconstruction plans are immediately passed." Green, who previously prompted an instant rebuttal from ManU after claiming the Old Trafford club was "not hostile" to Rangers joining the EPL, "has maintained the theme." There "has never been any genuine spectre of Rangers moving to an alternative playing environment." Green told RangersTV: "If this [reconstruction] does happen what is the point of us finishing the season? Why should we send players out to get broken noses -- like Ross Perry last week -- or have players getting surgery when no one can get promoted and no one can get relegated? We might as well have a winter break now until next August" (GUARDIAN, 1/9). The London EVENING STANDARD wrote the Scottish Premier League "needs an 11-1 majority among its clubs, but the idea has already been informally approved by all 12." The Scottish Football League "needs 22 of its clubs to back the plans, with a 16-10-16 plan previously being agreed unanimously by the 30 clubs" (EVENING STANDARD, 1/9). In London, Mark Giles reported an article written by Rangers Communications Dir James Traynor and posted on the Rangers official website "also accused those running Scottish football of 'sheer hypocrisy' by apparently taking fans' views into account" when the newco application of Green "was rejected by SPL clubs, while ignoring calls for a larger top division." Traynor wrote: "If they were listening to fans, they wouldn’t be sticking with a top division of 12, and if there was any integrity there would be no rush to bring in changes for the start of next season." Despite Rangers’ strongly worded reservations, SFL CEO David Longmuir "expressed confidence that the merger would be accepted by clubs in his organisation" (LONDON TIMES, 1/9). In Glasgow, Gary Ralston wrote "nine representatives from the SFL and six from the SPL were at the talks, but Rangers were not asked to contribute." An Ibrox spokesperson said: "It seems odd to us that, as the biggest club in Scotland, we were not invited to the meeting. Like many people, we believe that change should not be rushed through for the sake of it" (DAILY RECORD, 1/9). Also in Glasgow, Stewart Fisher reported Scottish football's administrators "hailed a landmark tripartite deal on league reconstruction as a 'new dawn' for the national game." Although similar models in both Austria and Switzerland "proved short-lived, and plenty of confusion remains over the fine print, the future structure is envisaged as two leagues of 12, which split into three leagues of eight after 22 games, with the top eight in the top division playing for the title." Scottish FA CEO Stewart Regan said, "It is a new dawn, I think you would say, for Scottish football. What's encouraged me most is that both sides have actually made concessions." SPL CEO Neil Doncaster said, "What today represents, among other things, is a huge redistribution of wealth down the leagues. The bigger clubs are giving up a lot of money to fund, particularly the gap between the top 12 and the second 12 that exists at the moment and effectively insuring a trickle down of wealth for the whole game" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 1/9).
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