At a meeting at Hampden Park, 25 out of 30 SFL chairmen dismissed a plan to accept Rangers in the Scottish game’s second tier, placing them into Division Three where any new club in Scotland is supposed to be.
The new Rangers, formed after the process of liquidating the old business began, had a bid to start life in the Scottish Premier League unanimously rejected by top-flight clubs.
After that, Scotland’s football authorities, more concerned with money than sporting integrity, wanted Rangers placed in the First Division to avoid what they estimate as a £16m loss in TV. The idea being that Rangers would get promoted next season and be back playing four Old Firm matches in 12 months.
But the Chairman of Scottish football clubs have overwhelmingly said no. If you add in the 9 votes from SPL clubs, 34 of Scotland’s 39 clubs have said that Rangers need to be punished and start over.
But that will not discourage the Scottish Football Association from doing a dramatic reconstruction of Division one and three in order to parachute Rangers into Division One, despite the likelihood of that move prompting a furious backlash from supporters up and down the country.
If this does not takes place, Rangers will face the likes of Elgin City, Berwick and East Stirlingshire next season.
Rangers issued a statement after the vote saying:
“It is now understood that on the back of a briefing SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster and SFA counterpart Stewart Regan gave to clubs last week that the SPL will introduce a plan for SPL 2 – which would include Rangers – and invite existing Division One members to join.”
The SFL chief executive, David Longmuir, said:
“The member clubs of the Scottish Football League have today voted to willingly accept The Rangers Football Club as an associate member of the Scottish Football League.
“Furthermore, the Scottish Football League’s only acceptable position will be to place Rangers FC into the Third Division of the Irn-Bru Scottish Football League from the start of this season.”
He added: “I’m comfortable today that the Scottish Football League made a very, very decisive decision that was based on sporting fairness and I think the Scottish Football League were in the right place to make that decision.
“This decision followed a tried-and-tested process and was taken in cognisance with the other options which were available for consideration.
“Today’s decision has been one of the most difficult for all concerned but it has been taken in the best interest of sporting fairness which is the fundamental principle of the Scottish Football League.
“The Scottish Football League has been entirely consistent with our willingness to work with other bodies to ensure that we focus on rebuilding our game, restoring pride in our game and exploring revenue streams and our willingness to achieve these aims does not alter.”