Scottish Premier League clubs reject bid by Rangers to play in top division | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Scottish Premier League clubs reject bid by Rangers to play in top division

Rangers' Andrew Little, celebrates his goal during their Scottish Premier League soccer match against Celtic at Ibrox, Glasgow, Scotland, Sunday, March 25, 2012.(AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

GLASGOW, Scotland - Scottish football was thrown into disarray on Wednesday after the indebted Glasgow giant Rangers was barred from competing in the Scottish Premier League following a vote by top-tier clubs.

The decision to reject the reformed Rangers' bid to play in the top division following the club's financial meltdown could threaten financial well-being of teams around Scotland. It also likely ensures rival Celtic will win the title since Rangers are bound to start from scratch, and may end up playing in the third division next season.

The 140-year-old club has won a record 54 domestic league titles but has tax debts of 21 million pounds (C$33.1 million) and entered bankruptcy protection in February.

Failure to secure agreement with tax authorities led to Rangers chairman Charles Green purchasing the club's assets in a 5.5 million pound ($8.6 million) deal and establishing a new company.

Celtic and Rangers have won every league title since Aberdeen in 1985 and no other club has finished as high as second since Hearts in 2006.

"At today's general meeting, SPL clubs voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers (owners) to join the SPL," the Premier League said in a brief statement.

Rangers needed an 8-4 majority in Wednesday's vote but St. Johnstone, St. Mirren, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, Dundee United and Inverness had already declared their opposition. On Tuesday, Motherwell announced their fans had voted to reject the application.

The Glasgow-based club has not commented on the decision.

A club from the First Division — most likely to be Dundee following its second-place finish last season — could take Rangers' place in the 12-team SPL. Dunfermline, which was the only club relegated from the SPL, could also take Rangers' spot by staying in the top tier.

It is unclear which league Rangers will drop down into, although the chief executive of the Scottish Football League, David Longmuir, proposed that should Rangers be entered into the Third Division, 16 million pounds ($25.2 million) in television money would be lost to the Scottish game.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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