Rangers accused by league chief of bringing game into disrepute

SPFL chairman says Rangers risks bringing the game into disrepute after allegations against the league executives without providing evidence.

Representative image: According to SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan, Rangers risks bringing the game into disrepute after allegations against SPFL   -  Getty Images

Rangers risks “bringing the game into disrepute” after making allegations against Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) executives without providing evidence, according to SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan.

MacLennan urged clubs to reject a formal request from Rangers, Hearts and Stranraer for an independent investigation into a controversial vote which ended the season for the three lower divisions and handed the SPFL board the authority to do the same for the Premiership.

Rangers previously alleged clubs had been “bullied”, claimed they had “alarming” evidence and called for SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and legal advisor Rod McKenzie to be suspended.

Read: How Liverpool conquered the FIFA Club World Cup

They later promised to divulge their dossier to clubs “well in advance” of a general meeting called for May 12.

In a lengthy open letter, MacLennan wrote: “If Rangers or any other club genuinely believes that it has been bullied by any member of the SPFL team, it has a duty to report that to me, as chairman of the board of the SPFL. I will then investigate any such allegations fully and thoroughly.

“In the absence of any such report, those alleging 'bullying and coercion' risk bringing the game into disrepute and sowing further unnecessary division.”

- 'Entirely unfair' -

Meanwhile Doncaster said later on Wednesday that Rangers had been wrong to call for his suspension, telling Britain's Press Association: “I think it's entirely unfair and that's why I would urge any member clubs who feel they have been bullied by any SPFL staff to bring that to the chairman's attention rather than have these vague, unsubstantiated accusations out there.”

The resolution to end the Championship, League One and League Two seasons was passed by 81 percent of the 42 member clubs.

Should the SPFL board decide the remaining games of the Premiership season cannot be played, Celtic would be crowned champion for a record-equalling ninth title in a row on a points-per-game basis as it led arch Glasgow rival Rangers by 13 points when the campaign was stopped due to the coronavirus crisis.

As it stands, Hearts would be relegated from the Premiership and Stranraer down to League Two.

The SPFL argued that ending the season was the only way to release vital prize money due to cash-stricken clubs in the lower leagues.

However, Rangers said the SPFL could have instead provided loans secured against future prize money.

MacLennan defended the information given to clubs and claimed there were “simply no other viable options”, describing Rangers' proposal as “deeply flawed”.

The resolution only passed when Dundee finally voted in favour, five days after clubs had been asked to cast their ballot.

The Championship side originally planned to reject the proposal, but its emailed vote on April 10 was not received by the SPFL.

An investigation by auditors Deloitte revealed “no evidence of improper behaviour”.

“The situation was not our making and Dundee FC are fully entitled to have a change of heart from reject to accept,” added MacLennan.

“However, with the benefit of hindsight, we probably should have given clubs a few more days to respond to the directors' written resolution.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos