LONDON: Rangers have launched a stinging attack on plans to radically alter the format of Scottish football that were approved in principle by the country’s league bodies on Tuesday.
The proposals were rubber-stamped in a meeting of the Scottish Premier League (SPL), the Scottish Football League (SFL) and the Scottish Football Association (SFA), although Scottish clubs are yet to vote on the plans.
As part of the proposals, the SPL and SFL will merge, while the league system will be reorganised into three divisions, with 12 teams in the top two tiers and 18 in the third division.
In a provocative statement penned by new director of communications James Traynor, Rangers - who presently are the runaway leaders in the fourth tier Third Divison - savaged the plans and accused the country’s football authorities of leaving them out of the consultancy process.
“This abomination will now be pulled and stretched by selected members of the SPL and SFL in a desperate attempt to make it more presentable,” read a statement from the club.
“It’s ridiculous, especially when you remember the two 12s will fragment into three eights.”
The statement added: “This club, the biggest one in the country, were not invited to take part in talks which will shape the game’s future.
“We are then entitled to conclude that this club are not important, which is strange indeed when so many fans of other clubs continue to be obsessed by Rangers, who are simply getting on with their own affairs, asking no favour from anyone.”
Earlier, SFA chief executive Stewart Regan had heralded Tuesday’s development as a significant breakthrough.
“I’m delighted to say that we have agreed a set of principles to restructure Scottish football,” he said.
“That will include a single league body, subject to club consultation.”Regan added: “The next stage is to take a worked-up plan to clubs and we hope to do that by the end of January.”
Regan, who was joined at the meeting by SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster and SFL counterpart David Longmuir, revealed that under the proposals, the top two divisions would split into three groups of eight after 22 matches.
Longmuir also struck an optimistic note, despite the SFL’s 30 clubs having initially pushed for a 16-10-16 allocation of teams in the three divisions.
“I can’t stress how important those two breakthroughs are,” he said.
“If it was to go to two 12s and an 18, those bottom 18 clubs will be equally part of the financial distribution model as the top club.
“Not only will they be equally part in sharing the wealth, they will have a voice in terms of the way the game is governed. That was the other breakthrough that is crucially important.”AFP