Rangers considering legal action after SPFL inquiry voted down

‘The status quo cannot hold’ insist Ibrox club
Rangers chairman Douglas Park. Picture: SNSRangers chairman Douglas Park. Picture: SNS
Rangers chairman Douglas Park. Picture: SNS

Rangers will continue their quest for change at the top of the SPFL despite failing to secure an independent investigation into the conduct of the league’s executive officers and board.

The Ibrox club, who raised the requisition for an inquiry into last month’s controversial season-ending vote along with Hearts and Stranraer, believe the level of support it received at yesterday’s EGM of all 42 SPFL clubs was sufficient to show there are “serious issues and failings” in the league’s governance.

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SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan, whose impartiality has been questioned by Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park, has urged all parties to respect the result and insists Scottish football cannot afford “further infighting and legal challenges” amid the coronavirus crisis.

But The Scotsman understands Rangers, who had called for the suspensions of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and legal counsel Rod McKenzie, are now considering further options, including possible legal action. Along with Hearts and Stranraer, they were backed by 11 other clubs at the EGM, including Aberdeen and Livingston from the Premiership.

But the resolution, as widely expected, fell well short of the 75 percent threshold required across the four divisions of the SPFL.

Only one Championship club - Inverness Caledonian Thistle - voted for it, while the eight clubs supporting it from Leagues 1 and 2 included Partick Thistle, who have also not ruled out the possibility of court action against the SPFL. Falkirk, East Fife, Stranraer and Stenhousemuir were among the others to vote for the requisition.

Rangers had circulated a lengthy dossier, detailing their complaints against the SPFL executive, to all clubs ahead of the EGM during which their managing director Stewart Robertson – who has been a dissenting voice on the SPFL board – spoke in favour of the resolution along with Hearts owner Ann Budge and Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack.

“We note the result of the vote taken at this morning’s General Meeting and wish to thank all clubs for listening to our concerns, giving up their time to read our report and for voting,” said a Rangers statement.

“We also wish to place on record our thanks to our fellow requisitioners, who showed courage and acted with dignity throughout. Furthermore, to those clubs who voted in favour of the resolution, we appreciate your support and recognise your desire for increased accountability at the top of our national sport.

“Today’s vote has erased the false narrative of this issue simply being a conflict between one club and the SPFL. All we sought was urgently required scrutiny, respect for all member clubs, fairness and transparency.

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“Significantly, support for the Hearts, Stranraer and Rangers requisition spanned the four professional divisions. Member clubs, recognising the need for Scottish football to improve its governance and professionalism, have moved beyond sporting rivalries and it would be unwise to regard this result as any kind of endorsement of the SPFL executive.

“A light has been shone on the SPFL’s governance and regardless of the attempts to debunk our report, there is widespread acknowledgement that it highlighted serious issues and failings which remain to be addressed.

“A management culture which not only fears accountability and scrutiny, but which actively campaigns against it, is unhealthy and breeds continued mistrust. This culture, so deeply embedded, must be addressed if Scottish football is to flourish.

“It is clear that many members have lost confidence in the SPFL leadership and the need for change will not diminish. The status quo cannot hold.”

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