GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Glasgow Rangers will not be playing in the Scottish Premier League next season as a result of the club’s financial meltdown, a move that likely ensures rival Celtic will win the title.
SPL clubs voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to reject a bid by a reformed Rangers to stay in the division. Rangers could wind up being relegated to the third division.
The 140-year-old club has won a record 54 domestic league titles but has tax debts of 21 million pounds ($32.7 million) and entered bankruptcy protection in February.
Failure to secure agreement with tax authorities led to Rangers chairman Charles Greenpurchasing the club’s assets in a 5.5 million pound ($8.6 million) deal and establishing a new company.
Celtic and Rangers have won every league title since Aberdeen under manager Alex Ferguson in 1985 and no other club has finished as high as second since Hearts in 2006.
“At today’s general meeting, SPL clubs voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers newco to join the SPL,” the Premier League said in a brief statement.
Americans Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya could attempt to leave the club rather than play in a lower leaguer.
Rangers needed an 8-4 majority in Wednesday’s vote but St. Johnstone, St. Mirren, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, Dundee United and Inverness had already declared their opposition. On Tuesday, Motherwell announced their fans had voted to reject the application..
A club from the First Division — most likely to be Dundee following its second-place finish last season — could take Rangers’ place in the 12-team SPL. Dunfermline, which was the only club relegated from the SPL, could also take Rangers’ spot by staying in the top tier.
no more old firm