Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Rangers 'should be promoted to middle tier'

Rangers could win the Irn-Bru Third Division title on Saturday
Rangers could win the Irn-Bru Third Division title on Saturday

Rangers chief executive Charles Green claims the club should join the current Irn-Bru First Division sides if league reform is approved in time for next season in order to maintain "sporting integrity".

 

Rangers could win the Irn-Bru Third Division title on Saturday - if they beat Stirling and Queen's Park slip up at Annan. But all nine of their opponents this term would join them in moving to an expanded 18-team third tier if league reconstruction proposals are passed in their present form.

Although their anticipated ascent to the top flight would not be delayed, Green argues his team deserve further reward than the Third Division trophy.

He said in a statement: "It would be manifestly wrong to deny any team promotion having won the competition they have entered into at the start of the season. Equally, teams which have been relegated should not benefit unfairly from any restructuring of leagues.

"The principle of promotion and relegation for the clubs which fall into these categories at the end of this season should be enshrined in any new league set-up.

"So, if, as widely predicted, we end up with a 12-12-18 set-up, Rangers should be promoted and this promotion should be to the middle tier."

Green added: "There has been no shortage of voices banging on about sporting integrity over the last year but sporting integrity must cut both ways."

Under plans to be voted on by Scottish Premier League clubs on April 15, the Second Division champions would go into the second tier as normal along with one of the next four teams following play-offs. There would be no team relegated from the current First Division.

Green claimed there was a similar precedent to his plan after the end of the 1993-94 season when Stranraer were promoted, although they only jumped one division after winning the Second Division. Five teams from the First Division were relegated as three divisions of 12-12-14 morphed into four divisions of 10.

Green also backed Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir's plan for Rangers and Celtic reserve teams to join the new merged league.

Green, whose club do not get a vote as they are associate members of the SFL, said: "A Rangers Colts team would add value to the league and other clubs would see their home gates enhanced significantly by Rangers fans, particularly those who lived locally.

"I would also be prepared to guarantee other clubs the ticket revenue equivalent of 300 Rangers fans turning up for matches."

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