Top league left to salvage its future without Rangers

Tue, Jul 17, 2012, 01:00

THE SCOTTISH Premier League is scrambling to salvage its financial future after its clubs agreed to accept the newly-formed Rangers club will be starting the season in the Scottish Football League Third Division.

The SPL and SFL chief executives, Neil Doncaster and David Longmuir, had warned of potential financial collapse if Rangers were made to join the Third Division, because the SPL’s €100 million TV deal with BSkyB and ESPN and its sponsorships depended on both Celtic and Rangers being in the league.

Longmuir told his clubs last month if they voted Rangers into the Third Division, the SPL was likely to try to absorb the SFL First Division into a breakaway, and form an SPL2, with Rangers in it. Last Friday the SFL clubs nevertheless voted to put into the Third Division the Rangers club to be formed by Charles Green’s Sevco company, which has bought Ibrox, and the old Rangers’ other assets from the club’s administrators.

But the further divisive prospect of an SPL2, for a Scottish game that has been sucked into turmoil since Rangers’ collapse five months ago, was dismissed yesterday after a meeting of SPL clubs at Hampden Park. An SPL2 was not on the agenda, and the meeting concluded with the clubs accepting the new Rangers into the SFL Third Division.

The 11 SPL clubs agreed to invite Dundee, who finished second in the SFL last season, to take the place of Rangers for the coming season, rather than allow Dunfermline, who finished bottom of the SPL, to stay up.

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