The SFL Teams Reject Gerrymandering and Send Rangers FC to Play in SFL3

The official statement from the SFL today.

The SFL Clubs signal their decision regarding Sevco Scotland’s application


The Member Clubs of The Scottish Football League have today voted to willingly accept The Rangers Football Club as an Associate Member of The Scottish Football League.  Furthermore, The Scottish Football League’s only acceptable position will be to place Rangers F.C. into the Third Division of the IRN-BRU Scottish Football League from the start of this season, 2012/13.

This decision followed our tried and tested process and was taken in cognisance of the other option which was available for consideration and approval.

Today’s decision has been one of the most difficult for all concerned, but it has been taken in the best interests of sporting fairness which is the fundamental principle of The Scottish Football League.

The Scottish Football League has been entirely consistent in our willingness to work with other bodies to ensure that we focus on rebuilding our game, restoring pride in our game and exploring revenue streams which allow the game to prosper.  Our willingness to achieve these aims does not alter.

David A. Longmuir
Chief Executive, SFL
13th July, 2012.


The declared outcome of the votes was 29-1 in favour of part (i) and 25-5, as I understand it, against part (ii).

I have not seen mention of whether there was a vote on part (iii). Maybe after the first two votes the chairmen were desperate for their buffet lunches!

All in all, this is the fairest result that could have been expected, in my opinion. However, it is interesting to note how, even in subtle ways, the influence of “Rangers” extends, perhaps subconsciously.

I note that pointed use of the word “willingly”. Mr Longmuir wants to make it clear that it was not what lawyers would call “force and fear” which led to the positive vote on part (i).

He goes on to say that the members accepted “The Rangers Football Club as an Associate Member of The Scottish Football League”. However, that was not the motion. The members were asked “to admit Sevco Scotland Limited as an Associate Member and agree to permit Rangers F.C. to play in the League during Season 2012/13.”

It may not make any difference, but the smudging of the relationship between Rangers Football Club PLC, Rangers Football Club and Sevco Scotland Ltd is continuing. Mr Longmuir, I am sure inadvertently, is misrepresenting the result of the vote, unless the proposal was amended prior to the ballot.

Why would he make such a slip?

He mentioned that the SFL followed a “tried and tested process”. Except it did not. I posted on this at length here. Mr Longmuir departed from the processes he outlined as long ago as April 2012 (when he probably had no thought that the SFL would ever have to vote on the issue).

It is of note too that the only mention of the specific “great re-structuring masterplan”, trumpeted with gust by SFA, SPL and SFL on Wednesday was the reference to “the other option which was available for consideration and approval.“

The rumoured location of the combined SFA/SPL/SFL masterplan for Rangers FC in SFL1 following today’s meeting

Mr Longmuir also makes reference to “sporting fairness” as the fundamental principle of the SFL. Very good of him to say that…except it is not!

The SFL Mission Statement says:-

“The Objects of the League shall be to promote and extend the game of Association Football and, without prejudice to the foregoing generality:-

  1. to be a governing body for its Member Clubs;
  2. to promote, guard and further the interests of its Member Clubs;
  3. to provide League Championship and League Cup Competitions for its Member Clubs and
  4. to conclude commercial contracts relative to sponsorship and exploitation of the League’s fixture copyrights and intellectual property rights including transmission or recording by television, radio, electronic data transmission, or other means, of fixtures provided by the League.”

In any event, a good day for the so-called “diddy teams”. They took the hospital pass given them by the SPL, and dealt with it fairly, despite the still dire predictions of pundits everywhere, although generally pundits spouting opinions, as is their job, but without any background evidence or analysis to justify their conclusions.

So three cheers for the SPL!

As far as cheers for Mr Longmuir go, then this depends on how much he staked on the SFL1 Master Plan. If he was equally committed to it and complicit in it as Messrs Doncaster and Regan, his position should be as untenable as theirs.

If however he was railroaded into it, for fear of the wholesale destruction of the SFL, then two cheers for him. He can get the third cheer when he clarifies why he said The Rangers Football Club as opposed to Sevco Scotland Ltd had been accepted as a member of the SFL.


Posted by Paul McConville


For completeness the terms of the proposals before the meeting today were, subject to any amendments at the meeting, as follows:-

Notice is hereby given that a Special General Meeting of The Scottish Football League will be held within the Bell/Baird Suite on the fifth floor of Hampden Park, Glasgow on Friday, 13th July, 2012 at 11.00 a.m. for the purpose of considering and, if thought fit, approving the following proposals:-

(i) That the Scottish Football League Members agree to admit Sevco Scotland Limited as an Associate Member and agrees to permit Rangers F.C. to play in the League during Season 2012/13.

(ii) That the Scottish Football League Members direct the Board of Management of The Scottish Football League (the “Board”) to provide that Rangers F.C. shall play in the Third Division of the Scottish Football League during Season 2012/13 unless the Board shall have to its satisfaction negotiated and reached agreement with The Scottish Premier League and The Scottish Football Association on a series of measures which the Board shall consider to be in the best interests of the game, how it is structured, how it is governed and how it is financed, whereupon the Board shall be authorised to provide that Rangers F.C. shall play in the First Division of the Scottish Football League during Season 2012/13.

(iii) That the Scottish Football League Members in terms of Rule 12 approve the resignation of either Dundee F.C. or Dunfermline Athletic F.C., whichever shall be admitted to join the Scottish Premier League for Season 2012/13, such resignation to take effect as at the date of admission of such club to the Scottish Premier League, notwithstanding that the requisite notice under Rule 12 shall not have been given. Details of the series of measures referred to at (ii) above shall be made available to the Members in advance of the meeting and an opportunity for full discussion of those measures will be given prior to the proposals being put to the meeting.




Filed under Charles Green, Football, Football Governance, Rangers, SFA, SFL, SPL

30 responses to “The SFL Teams Reject Gerrymandering and Send Rangers FC to Play in SFL3

  1. Duncan

    Did you actually mean three cheers for the SFL, or are you inadvertently smudging the relationship between the SFL, SPL and SFA?

  2. Keith

    I suspect the motion was altered. They have not agreed (subject to SFA membership) a company, but a club with the proposed name of “The Rangers Football Club”. Existing members of the SFL are under club, not company names. Significantly, they have not agreed to admit “Rangers” F.C. (as per original motion), but “The Rangers” F.C., recognising that it is a new club.

  3. Gobsmacked

    Thanks Paul for all your efforts in keeping us appraised on which shell the pea was under. See Sky still insisting that Rangers have been demoted, mute point. Hats off to the “diiddy teams”.

  4. David Wilson

    Whats going to happen with the SFA membership ? I presume that they (SFA) will also ignore any financial/business requirements for membership and let sevco join, but will this outstanding punishment that was overturned in court last month (the transfer embargo) have any bearing on matters ?

    • Keith

      As I see it, if “The Rangers” are admitted as a new club, then no sanctions can apply to them (but should have to provide a business plan, and bond to guarantee their ability to fulfil fixtures), If it is to be treated as a transfer of membership, then sanctions should be applied. History + sanctions, or no history, no sanctions.

      • NumbNuts

        Are you therefore tying club history to sfa membership? Is that personal or legal view? I have yet to see definitive statement on this but both for and against are adamant in their positions. Could do with a clear SFA /UEFA statement to neuter this once and for all.

      • Keith

        NumbNuts (For some reason can’t reply directly to your 11.20 pm)
        Hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but yes, I guess I am tying it to SFA membership.

        My view is personal, but coloured by having obtained a law degree 20 years ago.

    • Deekbhoy

      Assume the their election as an associate member reflects their need to apply and obtain SFA membership. Which given the existing rules should be a non-starter – no accounts- no working capital – no ground? But hell Regan makes the rules on the hoof so these should be a mere technical points.

  5. Glazert Tim

    Things will be tough no doubt and belts will be tightened. However, prior to Rupet Murdoch kicking the balls out of Scottish football with Sky Deals, we managed. Yes we lived a wee bit more financially healthier (Rangers and Celtic) but the spiritual health has been lost for many a year.

    Regan and Dungcsster’s positions are as safe as a window cleaner in Chernobyl.

    I honestly think that if they were to ‘footer’ and attempt an SPL 2, decent Rangers fans would revolt and start blogging here for tips and pointers.

    Most decent Gers fans have been quite vocal today and presumably the loony left from over the world are preparing for ‘operation boycott’.

    During the Sandy Jardine Marching Season I overheard one of the loony left stating:

    “There are Ranger’s fans from all over the globe including Canada, travelling to Glasgow, to NOT go to Saturday’ match” WTF?

    On a more lighter note, has anyone else noticed the striking resemblance between Craig White and Scottish Comedian/Impressionist Allan Stuart?

    If the authorities are looking for Craigy Boy I suggest staking out the Gaeity Theatre from mid November to February (Panto season, he’s always there).

  6. Glazert Tim

    For Allan Stuart read Allan Stewart. Oops!

  7. mick

    good article agian paul, this saying rangers and not sevco ,has he still got his head in the sand or does he no something we dont div3 was cheating spartans and cove rangers have been cheated out of a chane to join with it not been an open aplication it still all stinks ,well have to wait and see what monday brings maybe legal challenges from junior teams ,this licencing is well sus to ,

  8. Grabthegrass

    Well that was a decision I didn’t think would ever happen and I don’t think would have happened even 5 years ago without sites like this and rtc informing people of what is behind all the false words and actions. However there is still a lot of unfinished business. Will the spl make a last minute change of heart and allow Sevco in or create spl2? Who is going to be club 12? Will any club denied entry to the sfl take legal action. Who are Sevco and do they have enough funds to last a season in sfl3? Well they have any players? This isn’t over yet.

  9. mick

    the nhs and frontline services in glasgow will be delighted the old firm is no more ,in a year from now we will have a better pic on the social side of it with being able to compare yearly stats .

  10. mick

    wit happen to criag whyte hes not gave 1 statement about it all or murry or smith was smith the 2mill ebt reciever that was speculated on the net ?its nearly over its time for the truth on the ebt,s and the btc to come out now hopefully .

  11. Thank F*@$ some sort of decision has finally been made; and one that ‘seems’ to keep most people happy.

    Yes, we all know there are still very good technical challenges to all of this mess but perhaps they are not really worth mulling over now. ‘Rangers’ can start at the bottom of the pile (as per the natural selection of things should always have dictated) and Scottish Football will, for once, learn to stand on its own merits without being subsidised from money coming in from elsewhere. Money that has, in my opinion, been the sole downfall of the game.

    Personally? I’m delighted with the outcome today; i didn’t really think there WOULD be a ‘Rangers’ of any type in the leagues next season and whilst things are far from cut and dry – it now looks like we might have a season to look forward to.

    As for those asking about the EBT thing, it would be nice to find out the outcome of such – something that would give us all some closure on the matter even although (precedent aside) the outcome is rather meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

  12. ParmaHamster

    Clyde statement issued tonight – in short, a warning to Doomcaster and Regan, ignore today’s events at your peril.
    Fri, 13th Jul 2012 10:19pm
    The club chairman attended a very sobering meeting of the SFL today where the 30 clubs voted on resolutions in the manner that they felt were, on balance, for the good of the game. Nobody had arrived at decisions easily and all had been placed in intolerable positions of having to decide without the basic information that would reflect good governance and having to speculate about unresolved matters around sanctions and membership of the SFA that other bodies had so far failed to deal with.

    The outcome was never going to be a good one, but it was one of significant unity amongst the clubs, and even where clubs voted differently, it was not a divisive difference of views, everyone understood the complex mix of circumstances facing each club would never deliver unanimity of voting.

    We reported this morning prior to the vote of all clubs that “Sevco Scotland Ltd will not be playing in the Third Division in the coming season”. Nothing heard today altered that opinion, in fact, it strengthened it.

    For the good of the game we need to see the SFA accept the will of its members, who all voted today, as members of the SFL, in the clear knowledge that the SFA had it in its power to refuse to transfer SFA membership to Sevco Scotland Ltd should the vote support the entry of Sevco Scotland Ltd into SFL 3.

    We were asked to respect the confidentiality of those presenting today as only that agreement would allow them to be as candid as they were, we cannot therefore share what was said, however Mr Green left the SFL member clubs in no doubt about what he had been told by the SFA.

    The SFL saw a level of unity and unselfishness that owes significant credit to the first division clubs who stated their intention to seek a 42 club solution and not to take part in a divisive alternative. This kind of unity if maintained will help deliver the change that the game so badly needs and the first division clubs in particular will merit.

    If the SFA now act to support any process to undermine the clear views of the SFL members, who are also members of the SFA, then this club will join others in questioning those in leadership.

    Sadly for our game, this saga is not over, teams cannot plan and that includes Rangers, who may yet be denied the opportunity to play football in SFL 3 because it suits the interests of others.

    • ecojon

      I cannot even think about how many decades of effort by good people from all religions and none against bigotry and sectarianism would be lost if the SFA attempted to subvert the SFL vote. I am a Celtic Fan who argues that Lennon ought to grow-up and he wouldn’t be in such trouble with the blazers and rules.

      In the last few weeks I have seen how the blazers have no regard for the rules unless it is to their benefit and if they move or attempt to move Sevco to SFL1 then I will know that nothing has changed from all those years ago when I was discriminated against for employment because of the school I went to. Is this the kind of Scotland that these cretins want to return to and are happy to live in?

      I now begin to wonder whether there is any significance in the SFL vote accepting Rangers into Div3 and not a sevco 57 Variety as stated in the motion. Now the paranoia has started because the name thing could be taken either way 🙂

  13. jedi

    Where will this end? Dallassgate? the wee ministergate who I forget the name? Peatgate? If your surname might end in gate! your fair game we’re gonna get ya

    • ecojon

      Is that Pastor Jack Glass you mean? Could easy make it Glassgate – people in glass houses should’t throw stones if they can’t afford to pay the employees.

      • Glazert Tim

        People who live in glass houses should pull the blinds when taking a 5hit3. Fortunately as a result of this oversight, all the assholes in the SFA and SPL have been exposed to all and sundry.

        As for throwing stones, those folk in Chernobyl widnae listen.

  14. ecojon

    I just can’t see how Green will pay the running costs of Ibrox – he has to find £1 million+ a year just to pay the Business Rates and on top of that there is the rates payable for Murray Park and the Albion Car Park. Still there will be some reduction for no longer being in the SPL – there’s always a silver lining 😦

    I don’t know what Coisty is paid but I can’t see the mystery investors being happy to pay his wages when they can get a Div3 manager for buttons compared to Sally. And Green will have the lack of public support given from his manager branded into his brain.

    The players who have stayed and pledged themselves to Rangers will be sold on if possible to raise funds and believe it or not but under Tupe their wages can be cut by a new employer so I reckon they will shortly see what their ‘loyalty’ has bought them as their wages are reduced to Div3 level.

    Vast sections of Ibrox could be closed to reduce staff costs and the non-playing staff will really be decimated. This isn’t about football – this is about how capitalism works.

    The real crunch will come from the ‘investors’ as the wait for a return on their money has just increased by at least 4/5 years – this will test whether they were in it for the long term as claimed by Green or whether it was a shiort term smash and grab.

    I suspect it was the latter and very soon I reckon the letters of comfort to prove their investment, that were shown to the SFA, might suddenly turn out to have get-out clauses in them.

    Even if Rangers make it back to the SPL in 3/4 years how will they make money there as all the prophets of doom claim it will be a financial wasteland. If I was one of the asian or middle eastern investors supposedly involved, who have no personal interest in Rangers, then I would be looking at all the informed media comment and predictions ftom SPL, SFA and SFL bosses that Armageddon was nigh. I would also look at all those Rangers fans who seem hell-bent in further destroying the future finances of Scottish Football through boycots of the perceived enemy clubs who voted against them.

    The only people who will be investing in Scottish Football over the next few years will be true fans who have an emotional commitment to their individual clubs. Some clubs may go under but Green has shown us the precedent for walking away from debt and become a Phoenix Club with the blessing of the suits and blazers and keep the good bits of your history and discard the awkward bits.

    ‘We live in interesting times’ – Old Chinese Proverb

  15. ecojon

    Once Green and the Rangers fans read this they’ll love SFL3 — It is a time for thinking positively and adding to club history 🙂

    By joining the SFL, Sevco (assuming they are allowed to keep Rangers’ history) will have the chance to add the Ramsdens Cup to their list of trophies won. Ramsdens are the largest independently owned pawnbroking and financial services business in the UK — Green could end up being the best customer at the pawn shop or maybe he’ll see them as a silver investment opportunity.

    No Third Division club has ever reached the final of the Scottish Cup or the League Cup.

    Rangers (assuming they are allowed to keep their history) can now become the first club to win all four Scottish divisions. I am happy for Celtic not to have this honour.

  16. ecojon


    Good stuff about move to strike-off Whyte’s parent company Rangers FC Group Ltd and info about Liberty Corporate Ltd and its fixed and floating charges.

  17. Ernesider

    Ally was kept on a short leash today and told to keep a civil tongue. But I detect a note of bitterness in:

    “The sporting integrity that the SPL clubs were so keen on.”
    ” remains to be seen what the long-term effects of their decisions will be.”

    Well is that it all over? It has been an interesting few months and I am beginning to feel withdrawal symptoms already. I had Rabbie on standby in case of a sellout. What the heck I will stick him in anywayas the conniving treachery was tried even if it didn’t succeed.

    What force or guile could not subdue
    Thro’ many warlike ages
    Is wrought now by a coward few
    For hireling traitor’s wages

    But pith and power, till my last hour
    I’ll mak this declaration :
    ‘We’re bought and sold for Ranger’s gold’
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    Robert Burns – A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation
    (with a tiny bit of editing)

  18. Richboy

    I dispute the fact that Rangers (ia) will bring vast amounts of cash to the teams in the Third Division. Most of their grounds have a capacity of 5000 or less,Clyde (8000) and Queens Park (52,500) being the exceptions.

    The main financial beneficiary will be Queens Park with Clyde a respectable second. If Rangers (ia) fans are true to their word then Queens Park could see two sell outs in one season. The increase in revenue for other clubs will be significant but certainly well shy of life changing.

    PS do they have television in Peterhead and Elgin?

  19. Jason

    Now if the champions can scrape into the CL (tough task admittedly) we could in theory be playing Real Madrid on a Wednesday night whilst newco will be somewhere in front of 2,300 fans (assuming the game goes ahead – as most of these grounds will not have undersoil heating) in the mud.

    Just a thought that did delight me.

    The most pressing issue now is the subject of dual contracts and how that will affect the history (assuming that is transferred – because seeminly you can do that !?). Of course we will be demanding transparency from our esteemed leaders (again) as we fight tooth and nail towards the enevitable outcome.

    And so continues the greatest (and surely the most hilarious) summer in all of our lives so far.

  20. Boss Hogg

    I see that within twenty four hours of Rangers being assigned to SFL3 Stewart Regan has already rowed back from Armageddon to “financial consequences on the horizon.”

    Who knows? Within a full week this may have morphed into “a good thing.”

  21. Pingback: Will the SFA Approve Transfer of Rangers’ Membership to Sevco Scotland Ltd? | Random Thoughts Re Scots Law by Paul McConville

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