Rangers demoted to fourth-tier football

Rangers demoted to fourth-tier football

LONDON - Reuters

Former champions Rangers will have to relaunch from the lowly fourth tier of the Scottish game following their financial crisis, Scottish Football League clubs decided on July 13.

The decision completes a spectacular fall from grace for the Glasgow club, 54-time Scottish champions, who went into administration in February before a takeover last month by a consortium led by English businessman Charles Green.

Rangers had hoped to be admitted to the Scottish First Division, just one rung below the top Scottish Premier League (SPL) after SPL clubs voted to eject them last week. However, 25 of the 30 clubs in the Scottish Football League voted for Rangers to start life at the bottom of the footballing pyramid. The decision means that it will take Rangers at least three years to return to an SPL that they and rivals Celtic have dominated for decades.

That could have serious financial consequences since a five-year SPL television deal with BSkyB and ESPN, worth an estimated 80 million pounds, was based on a minimum of four matches each season between Rangers and Celtic.