Rangers demoted to Scottish Third Division

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Rangers‘ “newco” have been voted into Division Three of the Scottish League following a meeting of of the thirty member clubs. SFL chief executive David Longmuir revealed that 25 of the 30 member clubs voted against admitting Rangers into Division One. Last week, Rangers had been rejected by the Scottish Premier League with the old company destined for liquidation.

Longmuir said that ?The decision has been taken in the interest of sporting fairness.? He added that the SFL clubs remained in favour of play-offs to the SPL, better governance of Scottish football and a re-distribution of football income. Alloa Athletic, Annan Athletic, Arbroath, Berwick Rangers, Clyde, Dunfermline, East Fife, Elgin City and Peterhead had all said in the days leading to the meeting that they would vote for the Division Three option. First Division clubs Cowdenbeath, Falkirk, Livingston, Morton, Partick Thistle and Raith Rovers had all declared that they would be against Rangers playing in the second tier. Third Division clubs Queen’s Park and Stirling Albion held similar views, while Stranraer suggested that Rangers should be asked to apply for admission to the bottom tier along with other interested non-league clubs.

Rangers chief executive Charles Green had already indicated that his consortium would accept whatever decision was reached at Hampden. Longmuir said that “The Rangers representatives were invited in at the end of the meeting and informed that their application to play in the SFL had been successful and that the vast majority of clubs had voted in favour of them joining Division Three.”

Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster and his Scottish Football Association counterpart, Stewart Regan, had both warned of dire financial consequences should Rangers be denied a place in Division One. Rangers’ website responded to the vote by suggesting that the club had assurances from both men that an SPL2 would be launched to include Rangers and other invited clubs to safeguard sponsorship and television contracts. But Rangers later altered the statement to say that “It was mooted last week that plans for an SPL2 would swing into action, but it is not known if this will be the case.” Green did warn however that ?the decision impacts massively on Scottish football as a whole and only time will tell what the consequences will be.?

In being demoted to the bottom of the leagues, it is a remarkable downturn in the club?s fortunes. Rangers won 54 League Championships, more national championships than any other club in the world. They also won the Scottish League Cup on 27 occasions, more than any other Scottish club and the Scottish Cup 33 times. In Europe, Rangers reached the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961, becoming the first British club to reach the final of a UEFA club competition in the process. They went on to win the trophy in 1972 and were finalits in the 2008 UEFA Cup. In February this year Rangers went into administration with debts of up to £134m to unsecured creditors and are destined for liquidation. Its registrations with the Scottish FA and Scottish Premier League were terminated and Charles Green led a consortium to acquire Rangers’ assets for £5.5m. Rangers is being reformed as a new company.