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Rangers accused by league chief of bringing game into disrepute

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London (AFP)

Rangers risk "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.

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."

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 champions for a record-equalling ninth season in a row on a points-per-game basis as they led 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 had argued that 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' suggestion of handing out loans instead of end-of-season payments 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 their 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."

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