Sky Sports Reveals New Five-Year TV Deal With The Scottish Premier League
Sky Sports has reached an agreement with the Scottish Premier League to "continue its coverage of Scottish football for at least another five years," according to the BBC. Five live Rangers fixtures in Division Three are included in the deal along with 30 from the top flight. However, no figures have yet been released about the value of the new deal. Negotiations that followed Rangers being voted into Division Three by Scottish Football League clubs have produced the new deal. Coverage begins with Celtic at home against Aberdeen on Saturday. The new deal is "subject to ratification" by SPL clubs on Friday (BBC, 7/31). The HERALD SCOTLAND reported that Scottish Football Association CEO Stewart Regan "has called an end to the backbiting that has dogged the game this year and for focus to return to reconstruction." Rangers' demise and the subsequent placing of Charles Green's newco into the Irn-Bru Third Division this summer provoked unprecedented animosity and acrimony. Regan said, "Comments in recent weeks have been undignified and irresponsible, but it is important we now look ahead and focus our attention on football. It has been a challenging summer and one that we all have learned from. But we are where we are and the Scottish FA as a governing body now has the responsibility to unite everyone in Scottish football -- league bodies, clubs, supporters -- and help take the game forward" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 7/31).
EXPLANATION NEEDED: In Glasgow, Richard Wilson reported that the SFA "have written to Green to ask him to explain comments he made at the weekend about bigotry being behind the decision to vote Rangers into the Third Division." SFA Compliance Officer Vincent Lunny has requested that "the Ibrox CEO justify his claims and provide proof of his allegation." The SFA want Green to back up his claims that bigotry was involved, which would then allow the governing body to take action on the evidence he provides. They have set a deadline of Aug. 7 for Green to respond, and if he cannot justify his remarks, then Lunny "can offer a fixed suspension, take on action, or pass the matter on to the judicial panel for a decision" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 7/31). The SCOTSMAN reported that Celtic Manager Neil Lennon "has hit back at assertions from Rangers that the decision to place a newly-formed version of the club in the bottom tier of Scottish football was down to bigotry." Lennon said, "I only read about it yesterday and I found it quite funny. He has only been here five minutes and he is calling us all bigots already" (SCOTSMAN, 7/31). The SCOTSMAN also reported that "shareholders have voted in favour of Rangers owners Sevco Scotland Ltd. changing its name to The Rangers Football Club Ltd." An extraordinary general meeting of "oldco" shareholders took place at Ibrox Tuesday, where procedures were approved to enable the name change. Green told www.rangers.co.uk: "The process that took place today is the penultimate piece of the jigsaw that will see The Rangers Football Club move forward, with the transfer of SFA membership being the final piece. As every fan knows, Rangers is Rangers -- it always has been and it always will be" (SCOTSMAN, 7/31).