Rangers crisis: SPL clubs vote 'no to newco' at Hampden meeting
SPL 'overwhelmingly' reject transfer of league membership to Sevco Scotland Ltd.
Newco Rangers will not compete in the Scottish Premier League next season as clubs voted "overwhelmingly" against the membership transfer.
In a vote at Hampden on Wednesday, the clubs rejected an application by the new company, Sevco Scotland Limited, to allow it to inherit the old club’s SPL share.
Prior to the meeting of the 12 clubs, seven had indicated they would vote no to the proposal, highlighting the need for sporting integrity in dealing with the situation.
Celtic has confirmed that it voted against Rangers' admission. A statement on the club's website said: "Celtic Football Club today confirmed that it opposed re-admission to the Scottish Premier League by Rangers newco. Today´s decision to refuse access into the SPL was an overwhelming one and demonstrates the depth of feeling amongst everyone involved in Scottish football.
"Fundamentally, the Celtic Board has also been very mindful of the need to take what it believes to be the correct course of action in protecting the integrity of the game in Scotland. The matter is now within the jurisdiction of the Scottish Football Association and it will be for the SFA to decide on the future of Rangers newco.
"Throughout the whole sequence of events leading up to today’s decision the Celtic Board has been of the singular view that the integrity of the game in Scotland is of paramount importance. Our only other consideration has been to protect the interests and right of the Club and our supporters. Whilst the financial implications of today’s vote for Celtic and for the Scottish game as a whole will be very significant, we have already stated that Celtic has a business plan and strategy independent of any other club.
"Our supporters can rest assured that we will continue to fight to protect Celtic’s best interests within the Scottish game."
STV understands that Kilmarnock abstained from voting, Rangers voted in favour of the transfer and the other ten clubs voted against it.
A spokesman for the SPL said: "At today’s general meeting, SPL clubs today voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers newco to join the SPL."
Speaking in the wake of the decision, Charles Green said that he was "deeply disappointed" and confirmed he will now apply to enter the SFL.
The chief executive of Sevco Scotland, which is applying for SFA membership to play as Rangers, said: "We are deeply disappointed that our application to rejoin the SPL has been rejected overwhelmingly by the member clubs.
"We will now proceed as we had planned from late June to apply for membership of the SFL."
The decision followed a meeting of the Scottish Football League clubs on Tuesday where SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster tried to gauge the likelihood of newco Rangers being accepted into Division One next season.
STV contacted Sky Sports regarding their position on their broadcast rights for the SPL without Rangers. A spokesman for Sky Sports declined to comment.
Following the vote, Cowdenbeath FC held an emergency board meeting and issued a statement asserting their opposition to Rangers entering the SFL at Division One level. Instead, it said it preferred Rangers to be placed in Division Three.
A board spokesman said “If integrity in our game is to survive, then Rangers must start off SFL life in the Third Division. This is an SPL problem but the Clubs of that league have taken their decision for reasons which they must explain to all Scottish football supporters. The SPL and SFA should have resolved this long before now. They have tried to pass the buck to the SFL clubs and have tried to force them to accept “Rangers” into the First Division – to provide the greatest benefit to the SPL.
"This lacks any integrity and casts a dark shadow over our game. Cowdenbeath FC condemns this approach. The Board is in no doubt that our stance is consistent with integrity and the long term financial future of our Club. We ask all supporters of what ever Club, who share our views, to rally round and back us in the Season ahead”.
Chairman Donald Findlay added: “Speaking for myself, and myself alone, it is clear to me that people at the highest levels of our game have tried to hold a gun to my head and the heads of my colleagues. That will never work. But I have a long memory and will not forget what they tried to do and the way they tried to bend me, and this Club, to their will. That will never be allowed to happen.”