Rangers to be voted out of SPL
Soccer:Charles Green’s Rangers were today effectively consigned to start life outside the Scottish Premier League when Aberdeen became the crucial fifth club to confirm they would vote against a newco application. Inverness had earlier joined Hearts, Dundee United and Hibernian in making public their intention to vote no.
Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne said in a statement: “Traditionally we have preferred not to make public our voting intentions, but in light of the level of interest and the fact other clubs have chosen to show their hand, on this occasion I can confirm it is our intention to oppose readmission to the SPL for any Rangers newco.”
Other clubs are likely to follow suit. Motherwell have entrusted members of their newly-created fans’ ownership group with the decision while St Mirren have launched a formal consultation with supporters. Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston previously argued that Rangers had been punished enough but the Ayrshire club subsequently invited supporters to make their feelings known.
Fans have become the key element in the process and the Inverness board earlier came to a unanimous decision after struggling to sell season tickets. Caley Thistle chairman Kenny Cameron said: “The past few weeks have been extremely hectic in terms of our supporters and season ticket holders making their views known in great numbers to the club, as is their right.
“It is fair to say that in excess of 95% of them raised the issue of sporting integrity as the reason why they don’t want the newco to be admitted and had not yet renewed their season tickets.
“Financially, we examined the various scenarios and, frankly, none of them were positive for our club. It is extremely disappointing to be adversely affected by something not of our doing, unfortunately this is a similar situation for the rest of the clubs in SPL.”
Attempts to accommodate Rangers in the Scottish Football League had already begun with the Scottish Football Association using the crisis to push ahead with proposals to restructure key elements of the game. The SFA want a merger of the two league bodies as well as a pyramid system and a play-off that could see another top-flight club relegated.
Talks have been held between the three bodies that could see Green’s club admitted to the Irn-Bru First Division instead of inviting them to apply for entry to the Third Division in a bid to protect commercial income but Falkirk have already stated their objection to such a scenario. And Aberdeen argued that such major change should be considered more carefully.
Milne said: “If readmission were to be refused, we believe the appropriate course of action would be for Rangers newco to apply for membership to the SFA and to submit an application for admission to the SFL.”