No guarantees Rangers newco will get TV time

Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster last night offered no assurances that the competition would have a television deal next season after the clubs vowed to facilitate the Rangers newco’s Third Division move.

The SPL invited Dundee to replace Rangers in the top flight following their AGM yesterday, where no moves were made towards revisiting their decision to reject the Ibrox club or forcing an SPL2 breakaway.

Scottish Football League clubs were warned that the SPL could lose £15.7 million (€20m) — all but £1m (€1.2m) from broadcasters — were Rangers to be re-launched in the bottom tier but Doncaster refused to make any predictions yesterday.

Sky and ESPN were due to sign a new £80m (€102m) five-year deal this summer but their existing £13m (€16.5m) annual contract still has a year to run.

However, most of the SPL’s commercial deals have an exit or re-negotiation clause should one of the Old Firm be absent.

Doncaster said: “In terms of financial consequences, we’ll work through that over the coming days and weeks with our partners and as soon as we’re in a position to make an announcement about the reality then we will do so.

“I’m not going to be commenting specifically on any discussions with any of our partners.

“It’s important that we work intensively over the next few days and weeks to bring clarity for the benefit of our clubs.”

When asked specifically if there could be no TV deal, Doncaster said: “I’m not going to be speculating on what might be the case.”

ESPN said after the SFL vote on Friday that they wanted to continue their relationship with Scottish football but Sky Sports have made no comment.

Some SPL clubs felt that an SPL2 breakaway was inevitable should they reject the First Division plan but Doncaster said: “Certainly that is not something I have said to anyone, either to the clubs or the media.

“SPL2 wasn’t on the agenda today. All of our clubs were focusing on the reality of Rangers being in Division Three and Dundee being invited to take their place.”

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan had vowed to block attempts to put the Ibrox club in the Third Division but Doncaster says he is unaware of any intervention plans, although Charles Green’s Sevco Scotland have still to acquire the transfer of Rangers’ SFA membership.

“It’s probably a question for Stewart rather than me,” Doncaster said.

“Our clubs talked about the position following Friday’s vote and they were quite clear that they would do what they can to facilitate the decision taken by SFL clubs.”

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