Scottish Premier League: Hopes for a Newco Rangers in SPL Beginning to Unravel

Daniel O'Connell@@DanielOConnel18Contributor IIIJune 25, 2012

Steven Naismith is walking away from a newco Rangers
Steven Naismith is walking away from a newco RangersChris Brunskill/Getty Images

It has been another momentous day in Scottish soccer, and again, the news is not good for fans of the now defunct Rangers FC.

Following announcements by former Rangers FC players Rhys McCabe and Sone Aluko that they would not be transferring their contracts to Sevco 5088, senior established players Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker yesterday announced that they are also declining the opportunity to continue their careers with Sevco 5088.

There has been speculation that other senior players, including goalkeeper Allan McGregor, club captain Steven Davis and USA internationalist Carlos Bocanegra will announce their refusal to join Sevco 5088 in the next few days.

Should this come to pass, it would call into question whether or not Sevco will actually have any players under contract by the time preseason training begins.

Announcements by Saint Johnstone FC, Hibernian FC and Aberdeen FC makes five total SPL clubs who have declared that they will vote against allowing Sevco 5088 (who would like to call themselves “The Rangers FC” once Rangers’ liquidation process is complete) into the top league.

When the SPL clubs meet on July fourth to decide on Sevco’s application, they will not now garner enough votes to see them gain an SPL place. So, next season, for the first time since league soccer began in Scotland in 1890, there will be no club called “Rangers” in the top flight.

If Sevco are to play anywhere next season, it appears that the Scottish Football League will be their only option, with the governing authorities keen to rush through a reorganisation of the game in order to parachute them into a proposed “SPL2.”

This idea is sure to be unpopular with the clubs presently in Division 1 of the SFL, with Falkirk FC having already released a statement voicing their opposition.

So much for the soccer developments.

The big news today is that the Crown Office has instructed Strathclyde Police to launch a criminal investigation into the purchase of Rangers FC in May last year by Craig Whyte and of the subsequent management of the club.

This should really put an end to any hopes of Sevco 5088 being allowed to participate in Scottish soccer at any level next season.

With doubts cast on the legality of Craig Whyte’s purchase of Rangers FC and the subsequent sale of the club’s assets by administrators Duff & Phelps to Charles Green’s consortium, the “Rangers” brand is now unbelievably toxic.

The soon-to-be-liquidated Rangers FC are under investigation by the SPL for the incorrect registration of players over a decade, from 2000 to 2010.

They have gone under, owing creditors a confirmed £55m (possibly rising to £134m). It appears that they have won league titles and trophies with teams paid for at the taxpayer’s expense.

To allow Sevco 5088 to enter the SFL and trade with the “Rangers” name, debt-free, while the team played out of a stadium bought for a ridiculously low price would totally and irreparably corrupt Scottish soccer.

The previously unthinkable may be about to happen. Fans of the now defunct Rangers FC may have to content themselves with a new “Rangers” entering Scottish soccer at a much lower level than the Scottish Football League.

Watch this space.