SPL CEO Neil Doncaster Says Clubs Torn On Rangers Vote
SPL CEO Neil Doncaster admitted his organization’s 12 members have "mixed emotions" over the idea of allowing a newco Rangers club into the top flight next season, according to Stephen Halliday of the SCOTSMAN. Doncaster, however, pledged "clarity" will be delivered in time for the start of the season. Several clubs "remain torn between the commercial impact of losing Rangers from the SPL and the sporting morality of accepting a reconstituted Ibrox club as members." Many SPL clubs are "under severe pressure from their respective supporters groups" to vote against a newco Rangers. Doncaster said that "they must accept that burden of responsibility," having decided last month to "take the decision out of the hands of the SPL’s six-man board" (SCOTSMAN, 6/18).
DIFFICULT VOTE: Meanwhile, in Glasgow, Colin Duncan reported that newco Rangers could "pay for the sins" of the old regime after the SPL confirmed that they "had a case to answer over alleged illegal payments to players." The Rangers "stand accused of using a dual contract/EBT system," and if found guilty "could be stripped of the league titles" won from '00-10. The Rangers also could be "expelled immediately" from the SPL, even if other clubs vote to allow them back in at a July 4 meeting. Early indications suggest the Rangers "will struggle to secure" the eight majority votes needed to win re-entry. St. Mirren and Motherwell issued statements that claimed that any club "found guilty of financial wrongdoing must be severely punished." Aberdeen, Hearts, Dundee United and Kilmarnock fans have "already urged their clubs to vote against a newco getting back in" (DAILY RECORD, 6/19). In London, Gabriele Marcotti noted that "this is a messy story, whose epilogue is bound to be both untidy and controversial." The situation "forces us to pit two of humanity's cardinal values against each other: justice on the one hand, the greater good on the other." If the newco Rangers application to the SPL is turned down, "they will enter the Scottish Football League's pyramid, possibly as far down as the third tier." The vote "presents a painful dilemma to the SPL clubs." To throw the Rangers out for cheating would be "justice." But the "greater good argument suggests that the interests of the other clubs is best served by letting them back in" (LONDON TIMES, 6/18).