Scotland's Rangers into third division
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Scottish clubs voted for the Rangers to begin next season in the third division, the country's lowest professional league.
Rangers, in bankruptcy protection because of tax debts of nearly $33 million, faced two votes on Friday: 29 of the 30 Scottish Football League allowed Rangers in the SFL, and 25 of 30 made the country's most successful club start play from the bottom.
Rangers, Scottish champion a record 54 times, was barred last week from returning to the Scottish Premier League and hoped to restart in the next tier, the first division.
"The decision has been taken in the interest of sporting fairness," SFL chief executive David Longmuir said at a news conference. "I am comfortable that the Scottish Football League has made a very decisive decision."
Rangers remained hopeful of an SPL 2 being introduced.
"It is now understood that on the back of a briefing SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster and SFA counterpart Stewart Regan gave to clubs last week that the SPL will introduce a plan for SPL 2 -- which would include Rangers -- and invite existing division one members to join," Rangers said on its website.
However, Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall doubted such a breakaway will take place.
There remains a financial concern for the remaining clubs in the SPL: Without the world famous rivalry between Celtic and Rangers, there's a worry the SPL will lose money in television revenue.
The repercussions of Rangers' financial meltdown have seen the club banned from European football for three years, and the loss of many of its best players.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press