Rangers chief executive Charles Green has threatened that the fallen Old Firm giant will attempt to move to a league outside Scotland as he criticised the proposed reforms for Scottish football.
Scottish Premier League (SPL) and Scottish Football League (SFL) clubs will vote on a major restructuring of the domestic game before the end of January after Tuesday saw an agreement in principle reached for the future of Scottish football. The plan includes a new league structure, incorporating a pyramid system, and will see the merger of the SPL and SFL into a single league body. The proposed new structure incorporates a league system with two leagues of 12 and an 18-team league. Rangers’ high-profile financial collapse last year has seen it forced to rebuild from the Third Division, the bottom tier of Scottish football.
Rangers are currently 17 points clear at the top of the Third Division, but the proposed changes would see it remain in an enlarged 18-team bottom tier. The Glasgow club will be denied any fast-track move to a higher level and expressed its disappointment in a hard-hitting statement on Tuesday. Green told the club’s official TV station on Wednesday: “In what league do you win a division and then end up playing the same teams again the following season? There is no meaning to it, in reality. I haven’t read anything other than what is in the press and if that is what we have sat here eagerly awaiting to transform Scottish football, my advice to the board of Rangers is the quicker we can leave Scottish football the better. I can’t see anything that is going to transform the finances, the status or the excitement.”
Green’s comments come with the appetite for change growing within certain circles of European football. Leading Russian clubs such as Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow are behind plans for a ‘Unified Football League’ that would include top clubs from former Soviet states. Meanwhile, Belgian giant Standard Liege recently threatened to join France’s Ligue 1 if plans for a proposed ‘Beneliga’ involving the top 12 teams in the Netherlands and Belgium’s top eight clubs are not passed. Green added: “On first glance, of course, there is nowhere for us to go because FIFA have made their feelings known on cross-border leagues. Hand on heart today there isn’t an option but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start looking for an option. If all we have to look forward to over the next four years is more madness then we would be failing as directors not to explore the alternatives.”