Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The first domino topples

At this point, it's largely irrelevant what happens with Rangers on the 4th of July. Whether their newco are admitted to the SPL, or they get demoted to the third division and work their way up, the reality is that they're going to have to spend several years rebuilding. Frankly, if there's any prospect of them winning the league in the next five years, then that's a damning indictment on the level of competition.

There's also little need for Rangers to be punished further. Yes, they've been guilty of grotesque financial mismanagement, and it certainly looks like they've been guilty of other significant wrongdoing... but surely the mess they're in now is adequate punishment - after all, they've lost 140 years of history, they have a club in tatters, and they're facing a very long road back. Is there really a need now to strip them of titles, impose further financial penalties, or dock them points?

Of course, if I'm really honest, I don't really care what happens to Rangers. I have an interest, yes, but it has been a very long time since I have called myself a fan in any sense. And if there has been wrongdoing, as seems likely, then it is right that they suffer as a consequence.

But what concerns me more is that I suspect this is just the first domino to fall. Most of the clubs in the SPL were already under financial pressure, or operating on wafer-thin profits. A less interesting league almost certainly means reduced gate receipts, and while Sky have said they won't walk away, they would be mad not to take this opportunity to renegotiate their deal - after all, who really wants to watch a league with only one contender?

Whether or not Rangers are returned to the SPL next season, I doubt they will be the last club to fall.

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