Could Rangers Leave Scottish Leagues?

By J.J. Zucal

The chief executive of Rangers said the club would consider finding a league outside of Scotland if a plan to restructure its soccer leagues is implemented.

Representatives of Scottish clubs met Tuesday to discuss a plan that would bring together the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League for the first time in 15 years. The plan reportedly would turn the 42-team Scottish Football Association from four divisions into two 12-team and one 18-team division, possibly as early as next season.

The glitch, in Green’s opinion, is that promotion and relegation would not necessarily occur via league standing. Media reports stated “sporting performance” would be considered, though the term was not defined by the SFA or club representatives. Green also was upset that Rangers’ representatives were not invited to the meeting.

“If this does happen, what is the point of us finishing the season?” Green told Rangers TV on Tuesday. Rangers was assigned to the SFL’s third division this season after it was forced to reorganize as a new company due to bankruptcy. “Why should we send out players to get broken noses (as occurred to a player last weekend) or have players get surgery when no one can get promoted and no one get relegated?

Green added, “My advice to the board of Rangers is the quicker we can leave Scottish football, the better.”

In years past, Green had discussed the idea of his club playing in England, an idea that did not go past the thought stage. Six clubs in Wales are members of England’s football association, The FA, a situation which could give Rangers some leverage.

UEFA, however, now rejects the idea of cross-border leagues after it sanctioned a women’s league in Belgium with clubs from the Netherlands. That fact, said Green, could give Rangers another option.

“If there was an opportunity to join a cross-border league, and that was challenged by UEFA, I would go to Strasburg,  and challenge the sexual equality,” said Green to TalkSport radio on Thursday. The European Court of Human Rights is in Strasburg, France.

The problem with this is there are far fewer women’s clubs than men’s clubs in every European country. The idea behind cross-border women’s leagues, especially in geographically small countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, is to provide women with the same opportunities for top-flight soccer as men. While the argument is understandable, the chance of its success would be questionable.

The financial problems that caused Rangers to be reconstituted, and considered a new club by the SFA, were self-inflicted. Our best idea, since even if UEFA allowed Rangers to look elsewhere, English clubs would express concern as to its placement, is to demand the current promotion-and-relegation be a part of any restructuring plan.

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