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Scottish Premier League


Rangers Insisted They Won't Lose Out

Rangers have insisted that they won't lose out even though sponsors JJB Sports have been hit with financial problems. The club signed a £48m 10-year licensing agreement with the sportswear retailer three years ago. Rangers received £18m up front with £3m in royalties guaranteed each year, but yesterday the sportswear retailer called in KPMG to its loss-making fashion chain, Qube and Original Shoe Company.

Scottish Football Clubs Under Pressure

As we have argued, football north of the border has taken a big hit from the credit crunch with proportionately more clubs under threat. The credit crunch came at a time when football clubs had finally started to make inroads into their debt. Most SPL clubs reduced their liabilities to some degree in the last financial year. Clubs had finally begun to budget properly and many of them had got back to break-even point. Now clubs face a new challenge from the credit crunch. Supporters perceive that they have less disposable income, or at least need to set more aside for a rainy day.

Smith Wants Rangers Out Of Scotland

Glasgow Rangers manager Walter Smith has revealed that the club would be prepared to field a 'B' team to fulfill their Scottish League obligations in order to bridge the gap with Europe's elite clubs. The Rangers manager has floated the idea of an updated version of the Atlantic League, an idea unsuccessfully advanced in the late 1990s by the continent's geographically handicapped. He foresees a new European league made up of the top sides in Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia and Scotland, running in parallel with the domestic divisions and providing entry to the Champions League.

More Financial Worries At Hearts

Once again there are rumours that the Edinburgh club are up for sale as uncertainty persists over the finances and intentions of their backers. Twice this season the Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG) has failed to pay players' wages on times and there has been a private admission from within the club that they have a serious cash flow problem. The finances of UBIG and Vladimir Romanov have always appeared complex. News that another club they claim to subsidise, MTZ-Ripo of Belarus, have failed to pay some staff in six months has renewed concerns.

Rangers Supremo Awaits Right Offer

Glasgow Rangers owner Sir David Murray has made it clear that he is ready to sell the club which he purchased for £6m in 1988, inheriting a debt of roughly the same amount. He admitted that he would not get the money he had invested back: 'I've put over £100 million into this club and I'm not going to get anything like that back.' He added that it was still his prime objective to keep Rangers in Scottish hands 'but there aren't too many wealthy ones left.

What Relegation From The SPL Means

The impact of relegation from the English Premiership is a familiar story, but what about the implications of being relegated from its Scottish counterpart? The absence from the fixture list of matches against the Old Firm can create a serious financial shortfall for relegated clubs. Relegation leads to an almost immediate loss of £1.5m. Relegated clubs are provided with a £250,000 parachute payment by the SPL during their first season in the First Division, followed by £125,000 the following year.

Heart of Midlothian Sort Out Pay Problems

Last week weekly paid players at Hearts didn't get paid and those on monthly salaries faced delayed payments, but the problems should all have been sorted out today. Hearts maintain that the failure to pay employees was down to a technical problem. It appears that the problem arose when owners Ukio Bankas Investment Group, who regularly deposit money into Hearts' bank account, stopped making payments earlier this month. HBOS, who have their own problems, refused to let the overdraft rise above £100,000.

Hearts Debt For Equity Plan

Hearts' debt could be reduced by £12m if a 'debt for equity' plan is ratified at an extraordinary general meeting on July 31. The proposal, announced by Vladmir Romanov, the club's majority shareholder, would see UBIG, the Lithuanian bank of which Romanov is also a majority shareholder, purchase over 34 million new ordinary shares at 35p each, effectively increasing their stake in the Tynecastle club from around 82 per cent to approximately 95 per cent.