(Reuters) – Former champions Rangers will not be offered a short cut back to the top of Scottish football under a plan agreed on Tuesday to reform the club game in Scotland.
Rangers have had to relaunch from the lowly fourth tier of the Scottish game after collapsing under a pile of debt last year.
The demise of the 54-times champions has added to the financial problems facing many clubs in Scotland where attendances are modest for most teams except Rangers and Glasgow rivals Celtic.
The latest plan would see a three-tier structure replace the current four levels, possibly as early as next season, and a more even distribution of revenues among the 42 clubs.
It would reunite the top-flight Scottish Premier League (SPL) and the Scottish Football League 15 years after leading clubs broke away from their lower division counterparts.
All 42 clubs will vote later this month on the plan for two top divisions of 12 clubs and a third tier of 18 teams.
"I’m delighted to say that we have agreed a set of principles to restructure Scottish football," " Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan told reporters after talks with league representatives which did not not involve Rangers.
"That will include a single league body, subject to club consultation," he added.
League places would be based on sporting performance and no club would be fast-tracked to a higher level, sources close to the talks said.
Rangers said they were disappointed not to have been party to Tuesday’s talks.
"It seems odd to us that as the biggest club in Scotland we were not invited to the meeting and there are many people who feel that change should not be rushed through for the sake of it," the club said in a statement.
"We have said consistently that we have not made any plans based on being fast tracked through the leagues in a reconstruction process," Rangers added.
Rangers are proving too strong for the current 10-team Scottish Third Division which they lead by 17 points.
(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Mark Meadows)
- Green forecasts Scottish Football League shake-up
- Rangers demoted to fourth tier of Scottish game
- Rangers ousted from Scottish Premier League
- Rangers granted conditional Scottish FA membership
- Scottish soccer club Rangers plans stock market return