Rangers Crisis Could Bring Change To Scottish Football Landscape
The financial crisis at SPL Rangers is "set to bring about a radical change in the structure" of Scottish football, which could "pave the way for the Ibrox club to be demoted just one division," according to Hannan & Smith of the SCOTSMAN. The Scottish Football Association is "ready to merge" the SPL and Scottish Football League into a single league body "in time for the start of the new season." Under the new league set-up, the top and second tiers "would stay the same size" as the current 12-team SPL and 10-team First Division and be rebranded “premier.” That would mean that the present First Division "would become an SPL 2." Several other changes as recommended in the '10 report by former First Minister Henry McLeish will also be introduced. Among them, promotion and relegation playoffs for all divisions, a pyramid system for entry into the league, lower divisions consisting of community-based part-time clubs, different cash distribution within the new league, and a compulsory winter break (SCOTSMAN, 6/16). In London, the TELEGRAPH's Ewing Grahame wrote SFL CEO David Longmuir is against the proposal "which would see the Rangers demoted to the First Division." Longmuir said that he would not "welcome any application" from the Rangers "unless they were prepared to start at the bottom." The possibility of the Rangers dropping only one level has been floated "in an attempt to salvage the new, four-year broadcasting agreement with Sky, which has yet to be signed." But Longmuir said: "The decisions that have to be made by the SPL and SFA in the coming weeks are far more crucial than the knock-on effects that come to the SFL" (TELEGRAPH, 6/17).
GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP: Also in London, Gabriele Mardcotti reports at some point in the next month the 12 SPL teams will vote on whether the new company Rangers "can be admitted to next season’s SPL." Eight of them have to say “yes.” Rangers get a vote, so they need to "get another seven clubs on board." Early indications are that "four will agree, three will say no and the remaining four are up for grabs." If Rangers’ application is turned down, they will enter the SPL’s pyramid, possibly as far down as the third tier (LONDON TIMES, 6/18). Meanwhile, the DAILY RECORD reported that the Rangers will be replaced with "Club 12" when the official fixture list for the '12-13 season is released Monday. The SPL announced their move "after it was claimed the now-liquidated Ibrox side would not have their name included among the teams on the list." With no one sure which league the Rangers will play in next season, SPL bosses "revealed the club name would be omitted from the fixtures" (DAILY RECORD, 6/17).