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Scottish football chiefs move to 'relegate' Rangers into First Division

Play-offs and changes to financial distribution are amongst the proposals put forward.

Ibrox stadium: Colin Burrows has been banned from Ibrox.
© STV

Rangers could be playing in the First Division this season under plans drawn up by Scottish football's authorities.

STV understands clubs have received a letter from Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan, following talks with his SPL and SFL counterparts Neil Doncaster and David Longmuir respectively.

They propose a significant overhaul of the Scottish league structure, which would also see the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League merge by the start of the 2013/14 season.

Charles Green, who purchased Rangers' assets from the old company recently, had applied for the club's member share of the SPL to be transferred to his new business.

That move required an 8-4 majority vote of top flight clubs but enough teams have already declared they will vote no on July 4, leaving Green to look to the SFL for a league place.

It is understood however that a compromise could be found which would instead see Rangers, who are still shareholders of the SPL, formally relegated to the second tier in exchange for a modification to financial distribution and the immediate introduction of a play-off between the top two divisions.

The SPL are also understood to have proposed paying close to £1m to include Rangers' First Division games in their current TV deal with Sky and ESPN.

STV contacted the SPL to question whether it was possible for them to relegate Rangers, given that Dunfermline Athletic had already been demoted to the SFL. The league declined to comment or point towards the specific rule which would allow such a situation.

In response to the letter sent to clubs, SFL chief executive Longmuir said: "The Scottish Football League, for the last number of days, has been involved in intensive discussions with The Scottish Premier League, The Scottish Football Association and other crucial stakeholders in our game, to try and address, in a positive way, the current critical issues affecting our game.

"The Scottish Football League will today send a briefing document to its member clubs – a logical and positive communication which will hopefully eliminate some of the understandable doubt, threats and insecurities that are apparent within the game at the moment. The consultation document will fully explain the short and long-term benefits of a number of scenarios which we will be considering at a full Club Meeting next week.

"The Scottish Football League is trying to address the question of whether we are in a position to accommodate a solution to the Rangers F.C. scenario. We are trying to achieve a solution which will be in the best interests of The Scottish Football League and the wider game."

A spokesman for Scotland's top flight released a statement which read: "The SPL today held constructive talks with 11 member clubs ahead of the general meeting on 4 July.

"Following today's meeting, the SPL will continue to work with the Scottish FA and SFL to discuss the best way forward for Scottish football.

"All member clubs will meet on 4 July to formally decide whether to approve the transfer of Rangers FC share."

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