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SPL meet today to plan life without Rangers

The league’s financial income has been thrown into major doubt.

Celtic's chairman, Ian Bankier and chief executive Peter Lawell (second left) during the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match at Easter Road, Edinburgh.
Celtic's chairman, Ian Bankier and chief executive Peter Lawell (second left) during the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match at Easter Road, Edinburgh.
Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

SPL CLUBS ARE to meet today to consider their response to Rangers being demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish football.

The most successful club in Scottish football history had already been expelled from the SPL following months of financial chaos that led to the formation of a new company or ‘newco’ after the 140-year-old Glasgow side entered administration.

And on Friday 25 out of 30 Scottish Football League (SFL) voted for Rangers to enter the Third Division, the standard punishment in such cases.

Before the vote, Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan had said that demoting Rangers to the Third Division would cause financial catastrophe and a “slow, lingering death” of the Scottish game.

SPL side St Mirren have since stated publicly they are now battling to stay solvent after SFL clubs rejected an alternative proposal to demote Rangers only one tier to the First Division.

Despite Friday’s vote, there remains a suspicion a way will be found to avoid dropping Rangers to the Third Division, amid talk of the creation of an ‘SPL2′.

But top-flight Dundee 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.”

Meanwhile Hearts managing director David Southern said: “Rangers, as has been elected, will play in Division Three.

“That’s how it stands at the moment and that’s how we fully expect it to stand at five o’clock (1600GMT) on Monday evening.”

Most of the commercial and broadcast contracts concerning the SPL contain exit or renegotiation clauses in the event one of the Old Firm — Celtic and Rangers — were no longer in the top division.

Satellite broadcasters Sky and ESPN were due to sign an £80 million ($125 million) five-year deal ahead of the upcoming season, although their existing £13million annual contract has a year left to run.

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster has told clubs a total of £18.7million would be lost to the SPL if the Third Division option was taken, all but £1 million from broadcasting deals.

Doncaster has reportedly valued TV revenue at just £3 million if the Rangers newco was made to start in the Third Division.

Police are conducting a criminal investigation into the takeover of Rangers by Craig Whyte in May 2011.

Rangers went into administration on February 14 this year following court action from UK tax officials.

Administrators announced subsequently Rangers had failed to pay about £9 million in tax since Whyte’s takeover.

- © AFP, 2012

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