Scottish Premier League

SPL clubs reject Rangers application

Ibrox - home of Rangers
Scottish Premier League clubs have rejected newco Rangers application.
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Clydesdale Bank Premier League clubs have voted "overwhelmingly" to reject the newco Rangers application.

The SPL announced the news in a brief statement after more than five hours of talks at Hampden on Wednesday.

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster earlier hinted the vote could be deferred amid fears over the financial consequences of the Ibrox club starting their new life in the Third Division, but clubs carried through their vow to deny Charles Green's bid.

An SPL statement read: "At today's General Meeting, SPL clubs today voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers newco to join the SPL."

SPL clubs will now hope their Scottish Football League counterparts accept the newco in the First Division amid warnings that £16million could be lost to the Scottish game if they go down to the Third.

Three-quarters of Rangers fans on the season-ticket database voted for the lower tier in a poll for their preferred option, but Green has previously declared his intention to play at the highest possible level.

Warnings have been made in the last few days that up to half the SPL clubs could go into administration if the Ibrox club are in the bottom tier.

It appears that most if not all of the SPL's commercial contracts include exit clauses for sponsors and partners allowing them to pull out or renegotiate if the Old Firm are not present.

The clauses were inserted amid speculation over the Glasgow pair moving to England or into a European league but they have proved costly after Rangers went into liquidation last month.

A package put to SFL clubs to accept the Ibrox side in the second tier includes moves to merge the leagues, promotion play-offs to the top flight and a £1million payment for television rights.

Before the meeting Wednesday morning, Doncaster had said: "There are probably three options for dealing with Rangers. Rangers coming into the SPL with an appropriate range of sanctions is one option. Rangers going into the second tier is another option.

"The option that a lot of people have talked about, Rangers in the fourth tier, ultimately that would wreak huge financial damage on the whole game and it's difficult to see why 41 innocent clubs should pay the price for the misdeeds of one.

"So I think there are really two viable options that are in play at the moment."

It is as yet unclear whether relegated Dunfermline or Dundee, who finished second in the First Division, will replace Rangers in the SPL although the proposal put to SFL clubs states the Dens Park club would be promoted.

Green, whose Sevco firm bought the assets of Rangers for £5.5million, attended the meeting with chairman Malcolm Murray and manager Ally McCoist, who left before noon.

The verdict was announced by email about 2.20pm BST, with Green and Murray leaving shortly afterwards, while SPL clubs continued to talk.

Green claimed earlier this week he was confident chairmen would listen to his pleas after meeting several clubs to warn them of the financial implications.

Murray issued an "unreserved" apology Wednesday in a move thought to be designed to pave the way for a U-turn.

But St Johnstone, St Mirren, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, Dundee United and Inverness had already declared their opposition while Motherwell last night announced their fans had voted to reject the application. Green needed an 8-4 majority.

St Mirren confirmed on their website they had voted to reject the application as previously intimated.

Hopes from the SPL clubs that the SFL would back the First Division option suffered a blow during the meeting when Dunfermline and Clyde confirmed their opposition and Partick Thistle said they could not support the plans, although they called for radical overhaul.

However, Clyde also claimed they had been left in little doubt following an SFL meeting on Tuesday that the Third Division was not a viable option.

The club said: "The SPL implication is that it therefore has to be SFL1 with a bit of restructure, or an SPL2 with the rest of the SFL cut adrift. There were no other options."

The SFL were expected to hold a board meeting on Thursday where a date could be set for a vote on the newco admission.

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