These ads are only displayed to guests.
Please login to remove them.
Shows the league structure up there is a mess if losing Rangers could kill other clubs in the SPL
RANGERS and a breakaway group of SPL clubs were last night on the brink of a compromise deal which would secure the Ibrox club’s place in the top flight.
Frantic talks have been held in secret between Charles Green and a number of SPL chairmen who fear at least three of their members could be shut down if Rangers newco are forced to begin life in the SFL’s Third Division.
They had hoped the SFL would accommodate Rangers in the First Division but because some lower-league clubs have been railing against such a compromise, more than a few top-flight outfits are panic-stricken.
They have been warned as much as £15million could be wiped off the value of their deals with Sky and ESPN if Rangers are frozen out of the SPL for more than one season.
Already they fear being denied the £645,000 they are each due to receive from the TV companies on August 6.
And without that revenue and additional slices of the financial pie later in the year it is feared several SPL clubs, perhaps including Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Dundee United, could be facing closure.
The SFL will meet today to discuss a raft of demands if they are to take in Scottish football’s unwanted club but the SPL will gather tomorrow when they might well perform one of the most spectacular U-turns ever instead of kicking Rangers out.
Seven of them – Aberdeen, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibernian, Inverness, St Johnstone and St Mirren – have already made it clear they wouldn’t vote to let Rangers back in to the top flight but financial reality is biting hard. They and others are being forced to think again.
And we can reveal they are also considering changing tomorrow’s crucial vote from a show of hands to a secret ballot but last night further talks aimed at saving the game were held in the hope of gathering enough support to keep Rangers in the SPL.
Record Sport can reveal a six-point punishment package has all but been agreed by Green who is desperate to keep his club in the SPL. The deal is:
● Back SPL voting reform which would destroy the Old Firm’s voting power.
● Rangers must approve and support a more equitable SPL income distribution which would cut payments to the Old Firm.
● Rangers must accept a points deduction.
● They also have to agree to pay all UK and European football debts.
● The transfer embargo they had overturned in the Court of Session must remain.
● A public apology must be made and Rangers must also accept responsibility for past misdemeanours.
Green, worried that not every club will have been made aware of the compromise on offer, has started speaking directly with chairmen and owners and a source at the heart of the secret talks said: “These are substantial punishments which are being suggested and have been on the table for almost four weeks. It is not a last minute package.
“But it is feared some clubs may not be aware of the comprehensive nature of the offer on the table so time is of the essence. Green has a helicopter at the ready and will fly anywhere and anytime to every club in the SPL to speak directly with the chairmen and owners.
“It is not just Rangers who face oblivion. The entire future of Scottish football as we know it is at stake. This is the nature of the crisis with which we are now faced.”
Our source also made it clear it’s the threat to crucial TV money which has sparked the frantic rounds of last minute talks and stressed: “Sky and ESPN are willing to tolerate one year without Rangers in the top flight but they have been shocked by the suggestion Rangers might be out the SPL for three years.
“The stark reality we are now facing is that if Rangers are relegated and SFL clubs then force them down into the Third Division, as has been suggested, the SPL’s remaining teams will face their own financial Armageddon.
“As many as FIVE teams, possibly among them Motherwell, Dundee United and Kilmarnock could go to the wall and the beginning of the end could start as soon as August 6.
“That’s the date every club receives a cheque for £645,000 which is the first tranche of next season’s TV money.”
Without that cash some clubs won’t be able to pay wage bills and will then face financial meltdown.
It’s thought that during talks with TV chiefs last month it was indicated they would operate for 12 months without Rangers in the SPL despite having a deal which promises four Old Firm matches each season.
But since those talks there have been stronger suggestions that the SFL might vote to put Rangers in the bottomdivision and a source close to the telly negotiations said: “This came as a massive surprise. The threat to the TV money means we are staring into an immediate financial abyss.
“By voting Rangers out of the SPL and forcing them into the Third Division clubs will be voting for their own demise.
“Not only would the SPL clubs lose their TV revenues, the smaller clubs would lose the £2m drip feed they receive from the SPL. That represents a huge proportion of their revenues.
“So they too would be voting for oblivion. In the light of this dramatic and unexpected change in circumstances SPL clubs are being asked to think again before they decide to eject Rangers from the SPL.
“Many club bosses have been making statements in recent days and weeks saying they will vote Rangers out but they need to re-assess the situation and let the fans know the realities their own clubs now face.
“They need to think again and think very hard about what they are doing.”
By changing the vote on Rangers’ future from a show of hands to a secret ballot it is believed that some chairmen will find it easier to change their minds.
“If the SPL votes Rangers out they put their futures in the hands of the SFL who would then be able to vote Rangers into the Third Division and effectively terminate the TV deal,” our source said.
“The initial plan was to see Rangers out for 12 months with the expectation they would bounce straight back and Sky had no wish to effectively kill the Scottish game by pulling their deal.
“They were willing to compromise and the resurrection of the Glasgow Cup, which would probably result in an Old Firm game, was suggested along with arrangements for friendly matches between Rangers and Celtic to help their situation by boosting viewing figures and advertising revenues.
“That’s up in the air now as it was never anticipated the smaller clubs would flex their muscles in this way.
“The situation is at critical level with so many SPL teams unable to continue if Sky pull their cash. This isn’t scare-mongering, just plain fact.”