In a meeting at Hampden Park between the SFL chairmen, 29 of the 30 agreed to allow the new Rangers into the Scottish Football Leagues. Then 25 of the 30 agreed that the correct place for them to start participating was indeed the Third Division and not the First as had been hoped by both the SPL and SFA.
This is a move that Rangers manager Ally McCoist had asked for. It’s the move that most Rangers supporters had also asked for. It’s the move that most, if not all, supporters from every Scottish Football League had been demanding for since it was announced that the decision would rest on their club chairmen shoulders since the SPL washed their hands of the whole situation by not allowing Rangers to transfer the SPL registration spot to the newco.
Ally McCoist spoke publicly afterwards saying:
“I fully accept the decision of the SFL today and thank them for allowing us into the SFL.
“Clearly, starting again from the bottom league is not ideal and makes the task of rebuilding Rangers a longer one but the SFL was placed in an impossible situation and I respect its decision.
“I fully supported the fans views that starting again in Division 3 maintains the sporting integrity that the SPL clubs were so keen on.
“The SPL clubs and the SFA have made their positions clear over the last few weeks and it remains to be seen what the long-term effects of their decisions will be.
“Rangers has been severely punished for the actions of some individuals who previously ran the club and it will take time for us to recover but we will come back stronger thanks to the loyalty of the fans and the commitment of everyone at Ibrox who are working tirelessly to bring stability and success back to Rangers.
“I will be carefully monitoring events and reactions over the new few days and will be making further comments probably early next week.”
With Rangers being demoted, it now opens up a spot for others to get promoted into open spots in SPL, Div 1 & Div 2. A decision on that has yet to be taken.
So what now for SPL?
It appears that SKY & ESPN have yet to make a decision over their TV deal they have with SPL and if, as expected they pull out, it could spell financial disaster for some of the top flight teams.
The loss of Rangers from the top flight could also affect current sponsorship deals at the SPL clubs and the SPL as an organization, again this could spell a financial meltdown at several SPL clubs.
The SPLs loss could ultimately benefit the SFL clubs as a collective group.
TV companies may be willing to shell out for coverage of Rangers matches with the cash being split between all the clubs involved. More sponsors may be brought on board by Rangers opponents in the coming seasons, therefore generating much needed cash at the lower echelons of Scottish Football. More merchandise will be sold on game days when Rangers are visiting. More hospitality boxes will be sold when Rangers are visiting. And ultimately more supporters will turn up to home games when Rangers are on the road around Scotland, giving the smaller clubs a revenue that they have never seem before. Expect full houses wherever Rangers are playing.
It may also allow many so called Rangers fans to start getting out to support their local teams instead of following Rangers to the four corners of the country, as many glory hunters will leave the sunken ship in search of pastures new.
This could be a win-win for the smaller clubs as no matter whether Rangers play in the SPL or Division 3, huge crowds follow and beginning at the bottom could ultimately save Scottish Football and not destroy it as many soothsayers have predicted.
There can be no doubt that Rangers deserve this punishment but it’s up to the clubs to adjust accordingly. From the SPL to the SFL, the decision has been made and they must move on. After all, the SFL kicks of in two weeks time and everyone, including Rangers, must start planning for that.
Talk of a late re-emergence of the SPL2 is futile and stinks of a bunch of power brokers in the PSL & SFA struggling to come to terms with the decision that was taken out of their hands by a bunch of chairmen strong enough to do exactly as their own fans had wanted them to do and they acted accordingly.
This situation could have ended with league re-structure if approached when the whole problem raised it’s ugly head but small minds failed to grasp the huge impact remaining silent would cause.
Tomorrow morning, Rangers find themselves outside of the top flight of Scottish football for the first time in their long illustrious history but they’ll survive and so will Scottish Football.
Marc Roseblade is a Contributor for Examiner.com, Football Speak, Yardbarker, OurGameMagazine and various online sports and published outlets across the globe. Other soccer related roles he is involved in include matchday commentary and PR for Ayr United Football Academy. All quotes are obtained first-hand unless otherwise stated. You can follow NotJustScottishFootball on Twitter @myscottishfitba