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Jul 23, 2012

Rangers continue SFA talks

Talks between the Rangers newco and the Scottish Football Association (SFA) will continue on Monday as Charles Green's club attempt to secure their membership of the association.

Also on Monday, the Sale Sharks owner, Brian Kennedy, confirmed that he made a bid for a controlling interest in the Sevco newco.

Kennedy said he submitted a £5.6 million offer for a 51% share in the club on June 25. The offer from the Scottish businessman, who also attempted to bid for sole control, was not accepted but is thought to remain on the table.

"I have recently had several confidential meetings with a gentleman representing the shareholders of Sevco with regard to my interest in purchasing a majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club," he said in a statement.

"The details of these meetings and the written offer I have submitted have been disclosed from within the club... I have I have no alternative but to confirm that what is reported in the Daily Record regarding such matters is accurate."

Stumbling blocks to a deal between Rangers and the SFA remain in the shape of media rights and the possible stripping of trophies from the club. Rangers were reported to have already accepted a 12-month transfer ban as a condition of membership, but have since denied that.

The Scottish Premier League (SPL) wants the Scottish Football League (SFL) to allow it to obtain the rights to Rangers games because broadcasters are believed to be reluctant to agree to an SPL deal that does not include Rangers, regardless of the fact that they will be playing in the Third Division.

The SFA chief executive, David Longmuir, said he would assess any SPL offers for the rights to Rangers games. If the SPL is unable to bring those rights to the negotiating table, the SFL could lose out on the annual £2 million settlement fee agreed when the top clubs split from the league to form the SPL in 1999.

Some top flight clubs also face financial problems if there is a reduction or delay in the routine £645,000 TV payment from the SPL, which is due on August 6.

The SFL's media agents, IMG, have invited bids from interested parties with a Monday deadline, and Longmuir said: "We will look at the options we have on Monday and Tuesday.

"If the SPL happen to be one of the bidders, we will assess that as well. They are as at liberty to pitch to us as anyone else. I am comfortable that we will get there this week."

A statement from ESPN, which broadcasts SPL matches, said: "ESPN is proud to be a media partner of the SPL and a supporter of Scottish football.

"We have held consistently that the SPL, SFA, SFL and their collective clubs make the decisions about Scottish football and we have looked to be supportive throughout the current difficult circumstances. We want to have a continued relationship with Scottish football and, naturally, that would need to make sense for Scottish football, for fans and for our business.

"We look forward to having fruitful discussions on that basis."

Rangers are calling on the SPL to drop their investigation into alleged dual contracts at the old club. The SPL wants an independent commission to rule on whether the club broke the rules by paying players with "side contracts" during previous seasons.

The club fears that if the commission - due to reveal its findings on August 10 - rules against it, trophies won during the period in question could be taken away.

The club and supporters claim they have already been punished enough without that happening, and the Rangers manager Ally McCoist has publicly said he would "never accept" Rangers being stripped of titles.

There needs to be a five-way agreement between the SFA, the SPL, the SFL, the old Rangers and the new Rangers before any deal is sanctioned. The newco are due to play Brechin in the Ramsdens Cup next weekend, but that match cannot be played unless they have SFA membership.

The delays over Rangers' SFA membership have forced Fife-based side Kelty Hearts to postpone a testimonial against them.

Rangers have only been able to play matches behind closed doors at their training ground – they are not yet licensed to play any other type of fixture.

A statement from Kelty Hearts, who play in the East Super League club, said: "The Stefan Winiarski testimonial match between Kelty Hearts and Rangers on Wednesday has been postponed due to the SFA not granting Rangers a licence to play any matches, friendly or competitive."

Meanwhile, Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal has backed the vote that means the newco Rangers must enter Scottish football in the Third Division.

The 24-year-old Israel international said: "We are talking about the Rangers situation a lot and my feeling is that, when it happened to Juventus, Serie A got a lot weaker so what can we say about the Scottish Premier League?.

"However, being fair is more important than anything else and I think that, for football, this decision is the right one. I'm happy I'm at a clean and healthy club with a big tradition and lots of titles."

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