I'm sure it's a relief for everyone involved in Scottish football to see the SPL clubs finally vote on the issue of a 'newco' Rangers.
The general consensus seems to be that the 'no' vote clearly proves the SPL clubs don't need Rangers and that 'sporting integrity' has triumphed. It may well be the popular view, but it's not the one most Rangers fans would share.
More than any other week, the actions of the SFA and SPL have made it quite clear that sporting integrity is a sham, and that Scottish football needs Rangers or it will be finished.
There is no doubt that the highly successful “no to newco” campaign ensured that the same SPL chairman who might possibly voted 'yes', had no choice but to say 'no'. Too many fans threatened their own clubs with a boycott if Rangers were automatically invited back.
The anti-Rangers fervour reached such heights that according to a poll of St Mirren fans, 80% would prefer possible administration for their own club, than see Rangers in the SPL. It's unlikely that only the Saints fans shared this self-destructive madness, so the clubs had to say 'no' or in the short-term they would lose their fans – and few clubs could have survived that.
If the 'sporting integrity' mantra had any truth for the majority of clubs then that would have been the end of their concern for the SPL. The SFL would deal with the rest. However, the problem now facing them was that - as the SPL document sent to the SFL shows - Rangers in the third division, "takes approximately £16 million out of the game [and] commercial partners [will] walk away and seek compensation”.
For all the high-minded ideals preached, it had become painfully obvious that the only concern from the start had been finance. The only compromise possible now was to force the SFL clubs to go against every notion of fair-play and tell them that if they did not put Rangers in Division One, they would lose money and a new 'SPL2' would be created.
It puts the SFL clubs in a horribly unfair situation. As Clyde FC said in a recent statement:
“There will be no winners. Any level of integrity for the sport will be lost by one outcome and financial collapse, we are told, will fall upon the SPL with the other. Sadly, the SFA and SPL have decided that whilst they say they are looking for a collaborative solution, they have very clearly made sure that by their own inaction that the blame will sit with the SFL - no matter what the outcome.
“The Board of the SFL are being put under intolerable pressure by the other bodies looking to avoid the implications of properly applying their own governance procedures.”
Notice that at no point in this have Rangers fans been consulted. Any supposed financial collapse would come about because the SPL could not afford to lose more than 30% of the SPL fanbase for more than a year, yet that same group of people have no say whatsoever.
It's not widely known that far from begging the SFL to take Rangers into Division One, according to a recent 'Rangers Fans Fighting Fund' poll more than 75% of Rangers fans would prefer the third division. It's shocking to realise that the football authorities wish to keep the cash from Rangers fans rolling in, but will refuse to take their views into account.
If the SFA and SPL clubs don't want a 'newco' Rangers in the SPL, then they are perfectly entitled to vote 'no'. What they are not entitled to do is pretend they are doing so for noble purposes - while refusing to give the the SFL and Rangers fans a voice and forcing them into a division few want - just to protect their own finances.
To coin a phrase, how about some 'sporting integrity'?
John DC Gow is a Rangers fan who blogs for sites such as The Rangers Standard. You can follow him on Twitter.
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