RANGERS chief executive Charles Green says he is prepared to go to the European Parliament in Strasbourg and use gender equality legislation to win backing for his bid to take the Ibrox club out of Scottish football.
Green has threatened to quit the Scottish game in response to league reconstruction plans announced earlier this week for a 12-12-18 set-up which would see Rangers remain in the bottom tier next season, even if they win the Third Division title in the current campaign.
The Yorkshire businessman’s comments have been dismissed as bluster by many, given the consistent resistance in recent years by the English football authorities and clubs to any prosect of Rangers and Celtic joining their ranks.
But Green believes Rangers could begin by joining the Conference National (Blue Square Bet Premier) division, the fifth tier of English league football, and work their way up.
He is dismissive of any Uefa opposition to such a move, believing the decision to sanction the cross-border BeNe League for professional women’s teams in Belgium and the Netherlands this season has set a precedent. Green also feels the historic presence of Welsh clubs in the English league set-up strengthens any legal challenge Rangers may make in the future. “As the structures stand now, there are not many options,” said
Green in a radio interview with Richard Keys and Andy Gray on talkSPORT.
“But I’m not one for hiding my light behind a bushel. People say you can’t go into England because you are not allowed cross-border leagues. Well, there is now a cross-border league. You have a Uefa-sanctioned professional women’s league in Belgium and Holland, so we have a precedent there.
“If there was an opportunity to join a cross-border league and that was challenged by Uefa, I would go to Strasbourg and challenge the sexual equality.
“I could join the Conference and I would be in a higher league than I’m in. It doesn’t matter to me [which league Rangers are in]. I can tell you this, if the only option is to go into England and start at the lowest level, I believe Rangers fans would support that.
“Nobody can question Rangers fans once they see the attendances. I got figures through yesterday and it’s only Man United, Arsenal and Newcastle [that have] higher average attendances than Rangers. Even Celtic, who have had Champions League football, don’t have a higher average home attendance in recent games.
“People say you are not allowed in the English league – well let’s then kick Cardiff and Swansea out, because they are playing in a different country.
“People are saying Wales is fine but Scotland is not. We cannot have a situation where one of the Union is annexed by the football bodies but Wales can join. It’s rubbish.”
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has suggested the proposed new league structure could lead to a brighter future for the Scottish game, but Green insists the wishes of supporters across the country have been misread.
Green, whose club were not consulted on the proposals as they do not yet possess full membership of the SFA and have no voting rights, added: “This is not just Rangers fans, but every fan in Scotland is against this proposal, by 90 per cent I’m told.
“Clearly no-one is listening to the fans. Let’s put a paper in Hampden and see how many fans sign up to it.
“I don’t think there will be very many.”