The Footballers' Football Show panel doubt whether Rangers would be able to switch to England's leagues

Rangers to join the Conference?

Davie Provan (left) and Matt Holland (right) have their say on Rangers

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

The chances of Rangers joining English football are remote, agreed The Footballers' Football Show panel.

Following the announcement of a proposed merger between the Scottish Football league and Scottish Premier League starting from next season, which would leave Rangers in the bottom tier, regardless of their achievements this term, club chief executive Charles Green threatened to take the Ibrox outfit to a different country's league.

"If there was half a chance of [the Old Firm] getting into the Premier League through the Conference, I think they'd both take it. But at the moment, I can't see it."

Davie Provan

Presently that would be a difficult move to make, with FIFA regulations restricting clubs from competing in leagues outside of their own country and former Celtic player Davie Provan doubts whether leagues south of the border would welcome the Scottish giants anyway.

"I don't quite get it. Unless Charles Green has an agreement with the Football League and the Premier League, that they would be accepted if they got promotion all the way through the system, why would you join the Conference?

"As far as I'm aware he doesn't have that agreement and even if he did you have to give two years notice to leave Scotland and then it would be another five years to get through to the Premier League, were they admitted to that.

"[Premier League chief executive] Richard Scudamore continually shuts the door on this and he came out last week and said it's a non-starter and it's not going to happen and said the Premier League is for clubs in England and Wales only.

"Both Old Firm clubs, on the back of a softening of UEFA's stance on cross-border competition, think the ice might be starting to melt. If there's half a chance of them getting into the Premier League through the Conference, I think they'd both take it. But at the moment, I can't see it."

Precedent

Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Matt Holland agreed and suggested there were too many obstacles in the way to allow Rangers to switch leagues - although he did point out there is precedent for cross-border divisions in the women's game.

"There are a lot of hurdles to clear before it can happen," said the former Ipswich midfielder.

"There are a lot of people who have to say yes. It's alright saying they'll have a vote in the Conference but the Football League have then got to say it's alright because Rangers can get promoted to the Football League and UEFA and FIFA will have got to ratify the move as well.

"The precedent has been set a little by the women's game because Holland and Belgium have got a joint league now so it could possibly be done, but there are a lot of hurdles to clear first."

Frustration

However, Holland said he could see why Rangers were upset by the potential changes to Scottish football.

"They are talking about making it a three tier system in Scotland next year, which means Rangers could win the league this year, get promoted, and still be in the bottom league in Scotland," he said.

"So you can see their frustrations and perhaps the goalposts have moved, although there's talk now that those plans may be changed.

"But my feeling is Rangers will stay in Scotland and try to fight their way back into the SPL."