Dundee to replace Rangers in SPL

ESPN staff
July 16, 2012
Dens Park © Getty Images

The SPL has confirmed Dundee have been invited to replace Rangers in the top flight in Scotland.

The news came after SPL clubs gathered at Hampden for crucial talks amid fears that at least five clubs could face administration after the fall of Rangers. The Gers' share in the competition has not yet been formally passed to another club.

Charles Green's "newco" will begin next season in the Scottish Third Division after a vote by the Scottish Football League (SFL) clubs on Friday. First Division runners-up Dundee were chosen to be offered the SPL place ahead of relegated Dunfermline.

And despite speculation of a U-turn over Rangers playing in the Third Division, an SPL statement said: "It was agreed that the SPL would work with the Scottish FA, SFL and Rangers to facilitate Rangers FC taking their place in SFL Division 3 this season.

"It was agreed that Dundee FC would be invited to fill the space vacated by Rangers FC in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League."

The unfolding chaos and uncertainty in the Scottish game led St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour to claim that five clubs, including his own, were at risk of administration during the coming weeks.

SFL clubs had been warned that an SPL2 breakaway league could be on the cards if they resisted pressure to allow Rangers to play in the First Division.

That prompted Queen of the South, one of the clubs who voted in favour of the First Division proposal, to criticise the Scottish Football Association and the SPL for what they described as "threats".

Inverness chairman Kenny Cameron said his club would be seeking "consensual" reform of the Scottish game as the fallout from the Rangers crisis continued to bite.

Speaking after an emergency board meeting on Sunday, Cameron said: "We are one of the few clubs with no bank debt whatsoever, so our position is very far from immediately threatening, as has been alleged.

"We look forward to the new season on the back of renewed commitment over the weekend from our major shareholders and sponsors, for which we are very grateful.

"They fully appreciate that in May we, like other clubs, set our budget for 2012-13 [before the Rangers situation developed] and now there will be real change to the commercial curve because of events outwith our control."

He said the club had taken on board the opinions of its supporters, who he urged to keep contributing to the club through the purchase of season tickets, in voting against allowing the "newco" to play in the SPL.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and his SPL counterpart Neil Doncaster have claimed the league could lose about £16 million each year, mainly from TV deals, as a result of Rangers being outside the set-up for at least three years.

But Cameron said: "At national level, we are optimistic that the SPL's sponsors will take due cognisance of the situation in which the SPL finds itself and will stand behind the league.''

Some SFL clubs had remained sceptical about the prospect of Rangers restarting in the bottom tier. The SFA retains some control over the situation because they have yet to grant the "newco" the right to assume Rangers' association membership.

Regan has faced calls to quit over his handling of the crisis. He had vowed to make sure the Third Division option for Rangers did not happen.

Rangers manager Ally McCoist and Green were in attendance at the SPL talks. Nobody from the league was able to confirm exactly why, but they could have been representing the original Rangers, still being run by administrators after the assets were sold to Green's Sevco Scotland company.

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