Scottish Football on Brink of Implosion
Many neutrals will see the collapse of Rangers – one of the ever-dominant Old Firms – as a welcome chance to share the glory among other Scottish clubs.
Sadly, the grim reality is that the sheer size of the club and their support means their absence could prove catastrophic for their former SPL rivals.
The Scottish top flight clubs unanimously voted against the Rangers newco – formed from the ashes of the liquidated original side – entering into the SPL, next season.
The club have now applied for entry into the Scottish Football League, who will meet next Friday to decide their fate.
Had any ordinary club collapsed like this, then the natural thing would be for them to start again at the bottom.
That is certainly the preferred option of the Rangers fans, who feel worn down by the saga that has engulfed their club and just want to start again. The tabloids and the sport news websites are not quite as eager to see the drama end, however.
However, such is the size of that support – as well as the TV deals their presence attracts – that their absence from the top flight for a significant amount of time would leave clubs with huge shortfalls in cash.
TV companies have clauses allowing them to end their broadcasting deals should one of the Old Firm be absent, costing the member clubs millions. Then, there is the ticket sales the army of Rangers fans bring at least four times a season.
The alternative is to allow Rangers into Division One, with TV companies paying a dividend for rights to their games, with the expectation that they will be only down there a year.
That alternative is effectively breaking the rules in order to give Rangers a shorter route back to the top. Morally wrong? Perhaps, but with the cash involved, clubs feel their very futures depend on it.
Scottish football is torn between morals and self-interest. The Old Firm has ruled with an iron fist for decades now, so the chance to put one over on them is a welcome one for some people – especially the fans.
But the reality is, they keep the game alive and so different rules need to be applied, no matter how hard they are to take.