SPL clubs vote against newco Gers
Scottish Premier League clubs have voted "overwhelmingly" to reject newco Rangers' application to play in the top-flight in the 2012-13 season, meaning Gers will apply to join the Scottish Football League.
Following the liquidation of Rangers due to financial problems, SPL clubs met on Wednesday to decide whether to accept an application to allow the new company to take the original club's place. After over five hours' talks, the expected news was delivered.
An SPL spokesman said: "At today's General Meeting, SPL clubs today voted overwhelmingly to reject the application from Rangers newco to join the SPL."
Later on Wednesday, Rangers chief executive Charles Green confirmed on the club's official Twitter feed that the club will apply to join the Scottish Football League and "will play in whichever division the SFL sees fit''.
However, an array of First Division clubs have already made public their opposition to the newco's participation in the second tier, and they Gers be forced to begin life in the Third Division.
The newco have already suffered a major setback with a number of high-profile players opposing the transferral of their original contracts, and the likes of Steven Whittaker, Kyle Lafferty and Steven Naismith have already departed on free transfers.
Celtic have released a statement in which they express the integrity of Scottish football as the main reason behind their opposition of newco Rangers.
It read: "Celtic Football Club today confirmed that it opposed readmission to the Scottish Premier League by Rangers newco.
"Today's decision to refuse access into the SPL was an overwhelming one and demonstrates the depth of feeling amongst everyone involved in Scottish football.
"Fundamentally, the Celtic Board has also been very mindful of the need to take what it believes to be the correct course of action in protecting the integrity of the game in Scotland.
"Throughout the whole sequence of events leading up to today's decision the Celtic Board has been of the singular view that the integrity of the game in Scotland is of paramount importance.
"Our only other consideration has been to protect the interests and right of the club and our supporters.''
"Whilst the financial implications of today's vote for Celtic and for the Scottish game as a whole will be very significant, we have already stated that Celtic has a business plan and strategy independent of any other club.
"Our supporters can rest assured that we will continue to fight to protect Celtic's best interests within the Scottish game.
"In addition, we will be working with our other fellow SPL clubs in the days and weeks ahead to take all possible steps to maximise commercial returns, which remain crucial in these economically-challenging circumstances. We will also play an active role in mapping the future of Scottish football.
"We know our own supporters will be acutely aware of the significant challenges that lie ahead. We enter next season as champions of Scotland and look ahead to retaining our title and to making an impact in a European context.
"We know how difficult this will be and we call on our supporters to join us in tackling these challenges, to take their place at Celtic Park, to invest in the club and to continue to give us the kind of support for which they are renowned.''