Rangers Barred From SPL, Vote On SFL Membership July 13
Scottish football was "thrown into disarray" Wednesday after the Rangers were "barred from competing" in the Scottish Premier League following a vote by top-tier clubs, according to the AP. Rangers CEO Charles Green said the Rangers were "deeply disappointed" with the vote. The Rangers will be applying to join the Scottish Football League, which is made up of three divisions (AP, 7/5). The BBC reported that SFL clubs will vote whether to accept Rangers at a July 13 meeting. The newco Rangers are applying for SFL membership after the SPL rejected their application. SFL CEO David Longmuir said, "I have every faith in the judgement of those clubs to make a considered and reasoned decision which will be in the best interests of the game" (BBC, 7/5). The SCOTSMAN reported that there "had been talk" of the newco Rangers entering the first division "in exchange for a TV rights payment" of £1M ($1.6M) and a play-off system. The proposal "has been met with disapproval" from a number of clubs in the SFL (SCOTSMAN, 7/5).
CANCELED TRIP: The PA reported that the Rangers have been left without any pre-season matches after organisers of their tour of Germany canceled the trip. A statement on the club's website read: "The Rangers Football Club has been informed by the organisers of our pre-season trip to Germany that they can no longer offer us a place on the tour. The team was due to play three games in Germany between 18-25 July, but the trip will now not take place at their request." EPL Southampton and French Ligue 2 Le Havre had "previously withdrawn invitations" to play pre-season fixtures against the Rangers. Manager Ally McCoist's plans are "in further disarray" as his team only 13 senior players, although the manager said that he is "hopeful" players Andrew Little and Salim Kerkar will sign new contracts (PA, 7/5).
OPEN SEAT: In Scotland, Chris McLaughlin reported that Scottish side Dunfermline FC Chair John Yorkston said that his team should be given the "Club 12" slot vacated by the Rangers in the SPL. Dundee are being proposed over the Pars for a place in the top flight. Yorkston said, "We need to know where we are; which teams we're playing and we need to get on with it. Dundee have a case and we have a case; it's just a case of waiting to see how it goes" (BBC, 7/5).
SLOW DEATH: In Glasgow, Craig Swan reported that SFA CEO Stewart Regan warned Scottish football faces a "slow lingering death" if the Rangers are not placed in the First Division. Regan is adamant that football is now "hanging on the edge of a cliff and will topple over into the abyss" if the SFL does not agree to let them into the second tier. Regan: "If Rangers were to go anywhere else, then there would be somewhere in the region of £15.7M ($24.3M) worth of losses. For the bigger clubs that’s half their annual distributions" (DAILY RECORD, 7/5). In London, Jack Pitt-Brooke noted that "there is a groundswell of opinion" for the newco Rangers to start again from the bottom. It was "fan pressure which drove the SPL clubs to reject the application." Even 75% of Rangers' season-ticket holders in a recent poll said that "they wanted to play in the Third Division" (INDEPENDENT, 7/5).