* SPL clubs reject Rangers Newco application
* SFL to decide if Rangers can join Scottish league
* Rangers will accept whichever division they put in
(Adds reaction from club)
By Keith Weir
LONDON, July 4 Former champions Rangers were
ejected from the Scottish Premier League (SPL) on Wednesday when
rival teams voted to exclude the Glasgow club following its
The vote breaks the stranglehold on the Scottish game long
exercised by Rangers along wth bitter "Old Firm" rivals Celtic.
It also risks hurting other SPL teams financially.
Rangers chief executive Charles Green said the club,
champions a record 54 times, would apply for a place in the
Scottish Football League (SFL) which oversees the lower tiers of
"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 leads a consortium that took over
the club last month.
It is not clear whether Rangers will have to relaunch from
the lowly fourth tier of the Scottish game or will get a place
in the first division, just below the SPL. That is likely to be
decided in a vote on July 12.
"The Club hopes that the supporters, who have been
absolutely tremendous since the Club went into administration on
February 14, will continue to support the Club and make Rangers
a success once again," added Green.
Rangers have attendances in excess of 45,000 at their Ibrox
stadium, making them one of the best supported teams in the
However, they have been losing their top players. Striker
Steven Naismith joined English Premier League club Everton this
week after he rejected a deal with the new Rangers owners.
The club went into administration over unpaid taxes of about
9 million pounds ($14 million) and also faced a much heftier
bill in a separate tax dispute relating to how they paid their
players over the past decade.
In a stance likely to be noted by other cash-strapped
British clubs, the tax authorities refused to accept a
settlement and pushed the club's parent into liquidation.
That forced the reformed Rangers to reapply for admission to
the SPL and they needed the backing of seven of the 12 teams to
However, their fate was effectively sealed last week when a
number of clubs said they would oppose the move, arguing that
sporting integrity was more important than the financial
benefits of keeping Rangers in their ranks.
The expulsion of Rangers is likely to see BSkyB and ESPN
seek to cut the rate of its TV contract, which stipulated a
minimum of four Glasgow derbies per season.
The often bitter rivalry between Rangers and fellow Glasgow
club Celtic is central to the Scottish game.
The two "Old Firm" clubs have lifted the league title every
year since Aberdeen won it in 1985 under Alex Ferguson.
It is not yet known which side will take the place of
Rangers in the SPL. It could be Dunfermline Athletic, relegated
at the end of last season, or Scottish first division runners-up
($1 = 0.6419 British pounds)
(Reporting by Keith Weir; Editing by Ken Ferris)