The chances of a “Rangers” being in the SPL next season are receding by the day after statements by two SPL clubs indicating that they will be voting against accepting the application of Charles Green’s “The Rangers FC” following the liquidation of Rangers FC.
Yesterday (Thursday) Heart of Midlothian FC pulled no punches in a strongly worded statement from their owner, Vladimir Romanov. Romanov said:
“The football mafia represented by former owners of Rangers FC and Rupert Murdoch's media are to blame for some of the worst problems to hit Scottish football and must not be allowed back in under any circumstances.”
He went on:
“"It had to happen sooner or later. Victories were achieved not by sporting merits, but through slander, conspiracies amongst players and their poaching via third parties, unfair pressuring of referees, who in themselves are as valuable to the fabric of football as the football stars themselves.”
Romanov has never been one to mince words.
Heart of Midlothian was the first club to declare publicly against Green’s The Rangers FC, and it was followed a matter of hours later by a statement from Dundee United FC, which was more measured but no less emphatic:
“The Board of Directors of Dundee United are unequivocal in the belief that a form of sporting punishment must form part of the reasoning behind any decision made and, therefore, cannot vote the newco into the SPL.”
These two statements were followed by frenzied speculation that Aberdeen FC had also decided to vote against Green’s The Rangers FC, but this was quickly denied, with Chairman Stewart Milne acting to calm the situation by claiming no decision had yet been taken. He said:
“Contrary to reports, AFC has still to reach a final decision regarding the July 4 vote on the Rangers newco."
"This is a critical decision which will have major implications for all clubs and the future of Scottish football."
“The views of our fans and the issue of sporting integrity will clearly be a major influencing factor in our decision making."
Non-committal then, but it has since emerged that a major shareholder in Aberdeen FC will be very unhappy if a “no” vote from Aberdeen is not forthcoming. STV reports that Jim Cummings, who holds a 13 percent stake in the club, has threatened to call an EGM if the club vote to accept Green’s The Rangers FC.
Rangers require the votes of at least eight SPL clubs at the meeting scheduled for July 4 , and Channel 4 News journalist Alex Thomson reports on his blog that of around 1600 emails he received in response to a request from Scottish soccer fans on their opinion, not a single respondent was in favour of The Rangers FC being allowed into the SPL.
This is significant because the BBC reports Kilmarnock FC, Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC, Motherwell FC and Saint Mirren FC have all announced that they will go along with their fans’ wishes when casting their vote.
With Hibernian FC having previously indicated in not so many words that they would vote no, in short, things look bleak for The Rangers FC’s prospects of SPL soccer next season.
There had been speculation earlier this week that The Rangers FC could be parachuted into the SFL Division 1 as a compromise solution, but today, First Division Falkirk FC issued a statement declaring their opposition to any such plans. Falkirk Chairman Martin Ritchie said in a statement:
“It would be totally unacceptable if a Rangers newco were admitted to the First Division on the current rules.”
As things stand, it looks as though The Rangers FC will fail to gain entry into the SPL and can at best hope for a place in the SFL Division 3.
Follow Daniel O'Connell on twitter @DanielOConnel18