SPL vote against allowing newly-formed Rangers back into top flight Scottish football
SPL clubs have today voted “overwhelmingly” against allowing a newco Rangers entry into the league next season.
• SPL clubs voted against allowing newco Rangers into the SPL after around five hours of talks
• Charles Green needed an 8-4 majority, but seven SPL clubs had already indicated their plans to vote against the motion
• SFL clubs will vote on July 12 on allowing newco Rangers into the First Division
The SPL announced the news in a brief statement after more than five hours of talks at Hampden today.
SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster earlier hinted the vote could be deferred amid fears over the financial consequences of the Ibrox club starting their new life in the Third Division, but clubs carried through their vow to deny Charles Green’s bid.
Charles Green’s consortium required clubs to vote 8 to 4 in favour of the proposal if Rangers were to be allowed to play in the SPL next season.
An SPL statement read: “At today’s General Meeting, SPL clubs today voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers newco to join the SPL.”
Scotland’s lower league clubs will now consider a motion on July 12 which, if passed, would see Rangers parachuted into the First Division.
If the motion is rejected, Rangers will be admitted to the Third Division.
SPL clubs will now hope their Scottish Football League counterparts accept the newco in the First Division amid warnings that £16million could be lost to the Scottish game if they go down to the Third.
Three-quarters of Rangers fans on the season-ticket database voted for the lower tier in a poll for their preferred option, but Green has previously declared his intention to play at the highest possible level.
It appears that most if not all of the SPL’s commercial contracts include exit clauses for sponsors and partners allowing them to pull out or renegotiate if the Old Firm are not present.
The clauses were inserted amid speculation over the Glasgow pair moving to England or into a European league but they have proved costly after Rangers went into liquidation last month.
A package put to SFL clubs to accept the Ibrox side in the second tier includes moves to merge the leagues, promotion play-offs to the top flight and a £1million payment for television rights.
It is as yet unclear whether relegated Dunfermline or Dundee, who finished second in the First Division, will replace Rangers in the SPL although the proposal put to SFL clubs states the Dens Park club would be promoted.
Green, whose Sevco firm bought the assets of Rangers for £5.5million, attended the meeting with chairman Malcolm Murray and manager Ally McCoist, who left before noon.
The verdict was announced by email about 2.20pm, with Green and Murray leaving shortly afterwards, while SPL clubs continued to talk.
Charles Green said in a statement that a number of SPL member clubs had approached the Govan side over the weekend to suggest that some opponents to the proposal could yet changed their minds.
“At the weekend, we were approached by representatives from the SPL suggesting our application still stood a chance of success and we should discuss this further with clubs. This we did in good faith but with the knowledge of the hurdles that lay ahead of us.
“We had asked the SPL whether it would be more appropriate for us to withdraw our application but were advised against this.
“We made a presentation to the SPL clubs this morning, detailing our proposals in support of our application and this included what we believed to be penalties and sanctions that would have dealt fairly with the difficulties caused by events at Rangers prior to our acquisition of the Club on June 14.
“Sadly this was rejected by the other clubs and we regret that our Club and our supporters were given false hope by this initiative.”
Celtic also released a statement} today to confirm that the Parkhead club had always been opposed to a newco Rangers and that they would work with other SPL clubs to minimise the financial impact.
It read: “Whilst the financial implications of today’s vote for Celtic and for the Scottish game as a whole will be very significant, we have already stated that Celtic has a business plan and strategy independent of any other club.
“Our supporters can rest assured that we will continue to fight to protect Celtic’s best interests within the Scottish game.
“In addition, we will be working with our other fellow SPL clubs in the days and weeks ahead to take all possible steps to maximise commercial returns, which remain crucial in these economically-challenging circumstances. We will also play an active role in mapping the future of Scottish football.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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