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SFA chief executive Stewart Regan reacts to SPL decision

Football News 24/7
Scottish football was thrown into disarray on Wednesday after indebted Glasgow giant Rangers was barred from competing in the Scottish Premier League following a vote by top-tier clubs. The decision to reject the bid by a new Rangers ownership to play in the top division following the club's financial meltdown could threaten the economic well-being of teams around Scotland.

This is a view shared by the SFA chief executive Stewart Regan after the SPL decision. Regan is adamant the Scottish game is now hanging on the edge of a cliff and will topple over into the abyss if the SFL do not agree to let them into the nation’s second tier. Last night he warned Scottish football faces “a slow lingering death” if Rangers are not parachuted into the First Division.

Some SFL clubs, in particular Raith Rovers, have expressed anger at being bullied into the position of accepting the fallen Glasgow giants.

But Regan insists there is simply no other way and has warned of the grave implications if the SFL do not vote next week to allow Rangers in.

The SFA chief said: “The only solution for the game now is that Rangers come into the First Division.

“If Rangers were to go anywhere else, then there would be somewhere in the region of £15.7million worth of losses.

“For the bigger clubs that’s half their annual distributions.

“For clubs at the bottom, it’s basically wiping out their entire distributions, for some of the smaller clubs it’s a huge proportion of their annual turnover.

“St Mirren have already stated they would face a severe financial backlash if they lost their TV money. The same will be true for most clubs.

“Clubs could survive for a short period of time but it’s not sustainable so there would be a slow, lingering death for the game.

Meanwhile, Rangers chief executive Charles Green said the 140-year-old club was "deeply disappointed" with the result of the vote and will be applying to join the Scottish Football League - and he will be hoping Regan's plea that they be allowed to join Division One doesn't fall on deaf ears.

"If our application were to be accepted, Rangers will play in whichever division the SFL sees fit and we will move forward from there," said Green, who purchased the club's assets in a 5.5 million pound deal after Rangers went bankrupt in February.

Rangers and fierce city rival Celtic have won every league title since Aberdeen under current Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in 1985. No other club has finished as high as second since Hearts in 2006.

However, the stranglehold of the so-called "Old Firm" has been broken, with Rangers burdened with tax debts of 21 million pounds after entering administration -- a form of bankruptcy protection.

Failure to secure agreement with tax authorities led to Green launching a takeover and establishing a new company.

"At today's (Weds) general meeting, SPL clubs voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers (owners) to join the SPL," the Premier League said in a brief statement.

Rangers needed an 8-4 majority but St. Johnstone, St. Mirren, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, Dundee United and Inverness had already declared their opposition. On Tuesday, Motherwell announced their fans had voted to reject the application.

"This time last week, all of us at Rangers were resigned to the fact that we would not be admitted, due mainly to the public declarations of clubs indicating they would not support our application," Green said. "At the weekend, we were approached by representatives from the SPL suggesting our application still stood a chance of success and we should discuss this further with clubs.

"We had asked the SPL whether it would be more appropriate for us to withdraw our application but were advised against this ... Sadly this was rejected by the other clubs and we regret that our club and our supporters were given false hope by this initiative."

Who will replace Rangers is now an issue of debate with one of relegated Dunfermline or second place Dundee in the box seat. Dunfermline manager, Jim Jeffries urged a quick decison as he said the uncertainty was killing the transfer market as teams don't know where they will be or what money they will have with the season less than 8 weeks away.

JB

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