Fears of financial fall-out from plight of Rangers will dominate SPL’s agm
SCOTTISH Premier League clubs meet this morning to discuss their reaction to the decision to place the Rangers newco in the Third Division amid bleak warnings that up to five of them could follow the Ibrox club into administration.
St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour revealed his own club were among those battling to stay solvent after Scottish Football League clubs overwhelmingly rejected a plan to place the relaunched club in the First Division.
Gilmour’s comments – accusing SFL clubs of damaging Scottish football – betrayed an expectation that the lower-league clubs would accept the reconstruction deal that accompanied the plan. The scheme was formulated by executives of both leagues along with Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan, whose position has come under serious scrutiny. There remains scepticism among many SFL clubs that the Ibrox club will start off in the bottom tier following Regan’s earlier comments that he could not allow the game to suffer a “slow, lingering death” that such a scenario would, in his opinion, prompt.
Clyde this weekend hinted that Ibrox chief executive Charles Green had been promised by Regan that such an outcome could not come about amid warnings of an SPL2 breakaway. The SFA has said little of substance since Friday’s vote and the governing body has still to decide on Sevco’s application to assume Rangers’ membership of the association, and what sanctions might come with it.
It emerged that a motion of no confidence in Regan had briefly been discussed by SFL clubs and the SFA chief executive’s leading role in the First Division plan was laid bare in an email leaked this weekend, although all the significant details in the 23 June correspondence subsequently emerged. However, Regan’s plan to “relegate” Rangers suggests he may have underestimated the power of the democratic process involved in deciding where the new company would begin life.
SPL clubs now face a serious financial crisis, according to Gilmour, who warned of “catastrophic” consequences for his club. Inverness directors held emergency talks while Motherwell manager Stuart McCall admitted the decision would scupper any hopes of signing a player this summer.
However, both Hearts and Dundee United dismissed suggestions that the SPL’s rejection of the newco Rangers would be reversed or that a breakaway was possible. United said in a statement: “The club would not support any counter-proposals for the formation of SPL2 or regarding any other route for The Rangers Football Club to join the SPL.”
Hearts managing director David Southern said: “We certainly do not plan to go over any old ground. Rangers, as has been elected, will play in Division Three. That’s how we fully expect it to stand on Monday evening.”
SPL clubs, who hold their agm today and will vote on whether Dundee or Dunfermline should fill the ‘Club 12’ void in the top-flight, will be most keen to discover the accuracy of predictions of commercial losses resulting from the loss of Rangers. Sky Sports has maintained its silence while ESPN has said they “want to have a continued relationship with Scottish football”.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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