Rangers searching for 'sporting integrity'

Posted by John Gow

Mark Runnacles/Getty ImagesA possible revamp to the structure of Scottish football has raised the ire of Rangers CEO Charles Green.

"What's the point of finishing the season? Why should we send people out when no one can get relegated and no one can get promoted?"

This is the response from Rangers CEO Charles Green on Rangers TV to news that the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and Scottish Football League (SFL) would merge to create a unitary league system of a top 12 called the Premier Division, a second 12 called the Championship and a bottom 18 called the National League.

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The issue Rangers have with this 'reconstruction' is that nothing much changes except the Ibrox club have just played (and paid for) a season that Green describes as "meaningless games".

And he is correct. It is against all notions of (and forgive the term) 'sporting integrity' to ask any club to end a league with different rules than the ones at the beginning of the season. One of the excuses given is that Rangers will still be the same amount of time away from the top flight, but imagine the reverse.

If Rangers were toiling in sixth place with no real chance of promotion and then the league was changed to allow a step up regardless of the results, there would be an uproar.

It's fine to say Rangers are still promoted, but only if you admit that every other team is also promoted in the exact same manner. In few other countries in the world would that be classified as fair.

How much money did Rangers spend to ensure a title win (and survival) when you could have spent nothing and it would have made no difference except save you hundreds of thousands of pounds or even millions?

The Light Blues could have sent out an even younger team and not only saved money, but helped the future progress of the players. The fans wouldn't have bothered about results because they don't matter.

Speaking of fans, how much did they pay to watch a competition that made no difference? Rangers fans paid much more than any other SFL3 club for tickets to a competition that didn't exist. It's an insult.

The other issue frustrating the club is the lack of respect shown from the authorities. Even some Rangers fans talk about 'building bridges', but you can only do that if there are two sides to keep the structure stable.

This is a club who can have more fans at Ibrox than the rest of the SPL, and close to more than Scottish football put together, who are not allowed to discuss the future. It's fine to be the 'cash cow' and allow other fans on social media to discuss your future during the summer, but heaven forbid the supporters who actually pay for tickets getting any say.

Such frustration has led Green to say that, "The quicker we can leave Scottish football, the better". While this is completely unrealistic and will be dropped after emotions become less heated, from the fans to the management to the board, there is no doubt that everyone connected with Rangers are unhappy with the reconstruction plans.

That won't matter because they will still go through, but the club won't be without such representation forever. The huge fan base ensures the club will be heard sooner or later, and when the others have forgotten, a feeling of injustice will still drive them forward. As new Director of Communications James Traynor recently said:

"Rangers will return to the top flight, which will of course have to be rebranded. Rangers will take a seat at the head of the table where, despite the latest insult of being shut out of reconstruction talks, we will act with the good of Scottish football in mind. We'll work through the divisions and we will return stronger and better than ever before."

To turn the old cliche on its head, be nice to people on their way down because you'll meet them on their way up.

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