The Scottish Football League will consult their clubs early next week over the fallout from the Rangers crisis – but Raith Rovers today added their voice to opposition to Charles Green’s newco club joining the Irn-Bru First Division.
Talks have been held between the three governing bodies over a compromise deal that could see the new Rangers enter the second tier of Scottish football amid wider changes to the structure of the game.
These could include a merger of the SFL and Scottish Premier League, a play-off that could lead to a second team promoted to the top flight, and a pyramid structure that could freshen up the lower leagues.
All those issues were on the Scottish Football Association’s agenda anyway, having been proposed by former First Minister Henry McLeish in his review of the game, but attempts to push them through for next season were being seen as a means of minimising the financial impact of Rangers’ collapse.
However, Raith have joined Falkirk in directly opposing any deal to let Green’s club into the First Division rather than the Third should his application to the SPL fail as expected.
A statement from the First Division club’s board read: “Raith Rovers FC continues to closely monitor developments in the saga of who will replace the liquidated Rangers within Scottish football.
“As proud members of the Scottish Football League, we may soon be called upon to consider proposals for the way forward not only in relation to any vacancy that may arise in our league but also in respect of the future construction of the game in Scotland.
“Whilst we retain an open mind on the subject of league reconstruction, and will carefully consider any proposal put to us by the SFL board in this regard, the board of directors of Raith Rovers FC is unanimous in its view that we shall certainly not cast our vote in favour of any integrated plan that in our view compromises sporting integrity by involving the admission of any newco directly into Division One.”
Dunfermline also hinted they could be swayed by the fan power that has swept through the SPL boardrooms.
A club statement read: “The board refuse at this stage to speculate on conjecture, but what we can say is that we are fully aware of the views of Pars fans in terms of sporting integrity, and any decision the board may make on behalf of the football club in future will respect this, as no one wishes to alienate our own loyal supporters.”
Although relegated Dunfermline may be back in the SPL before the SFL clubs are given any vote, Partick Thistle have also stated their fans’ views will be of “paramount importance”.
The SFL board met today and pledged to give clubs an opportunity to air their views before the planned SPL vote next Wednesday.
Chief executive David Longmuir said: “We didn’t rule anything in and we didn’t rule anything out.
“The most important aspect of the whole process is to consult with clubs.
“It will be a general club meeting where clubs have the first chance to see the issues we have been dealing with.
“They will debate them and discuss them fully with the board of the SFL and take appropriate action as required.”
A statement from the league added: “The SFL board met today to discuss a number of issues currently affecting our game.
“The three governing bodies will continue to work together over the coming days to deliver a way forward which will be in the best interests of our game.
“Key to that process will be a full consultation with our clubs which will take place early next week.”