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Football: Rangers want to wipe 'slate clean' in bottom tier

Photo dated Nov 10 2011 of the gates to Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, home of Rangers soccer club. (AP Photo/ Danny Lawson/PA)

LONDON: Rangers accepted their demotion to the Scottish Third Division Friday by saying they wanted to start afresh even if it meant playing at clubs where average crowds struggle to break the 500 mark.

The most successful club in Scottish football history had already been expelled from the Scottish Premier League (SPL) following months of financial chaos that led to the formation of a new company or 'newco' after the 140-year-old Glasgow side entered administration.

And on Friday 25 out of 30 Scottish Football League (SFL) voted for Rangers to enter the Third Division, the standard punishment in such cases.

Rangers newco chief executive Charles Green refused to criticise Friday's decision, telling the club's website: "We are grateful to be accepted as members of the SFL and accept their decision to vote us into Division Three.

"It is a matter of regret for all of us involved with Rangers that the issues surrounding the club resulted in the SFL and its members being placed in a very difficult position not of their own making.

"From the outset, we made clear we would play where we were told to play and we just want to get back to playing football."

However, Green added: "This decision maintains the sporting integrity that clubs and fans across Scotland have been calling for but it also impacts massively on Scottish football as a whole and only time will tell what the consequences will be.

"Rangers has been handed the ultimate punishment of starting again from the bottom of the leagues but there is an overwhelming feeling among fans and within the club of 'wiping the slate clean' as a club free of sanctions.

"We have been greatly encouraged by the number of supporters who have committed to buying season tickets no matter where we ended up playing and I personally want to thank them for their continued loyalty to the club.

"We are a football club and we just want to get back to playing football. Now is the time to move on and start afresh."

Police are conducting a criminal investigation into the takeover of Rangers by Craig Whyte in May 2011.

Rangers went into administration on February 14 this year following court action from UK tax officials.

Administrators announced subsequently Rangers had failed to pay about ?9 million ($14m) in tax since Whyte's takeover.

"The people who brought shame on this great club are no longer part of it and everyone at Rangers is focused on rebuilding the club on top of a solid financial foundation," Green said.

"We wish to play a constructive part in Division Three and encourage our fans to support the other clubs within the league by attending matches and delivering to them the benefits of having Rangers within their league."

Rangers manager Ally McCoist, a former Gers and Scotland striker, said supporters would help the club rise again.

"We will come back stronger thanks to the loyalty of the fans and the commitment of everyone at Ibrox, who are working tirelessly to bring stability and success back to Rangers."

 

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