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Bain has a go at the unfairness of SPL split


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Martin Bain today waded into the SPL fixtures row – and called for the controversial SPL split to be binned.

The Rangers chief executive is very unhappy at the way the Ibrox side’s matches have been arranged for the run-in.

Despite the fact Walter Smith’s side are way out in front and on the brink of retaining the title, Bain has blasted the SPL’s handling of the post-split fixtures.

Rangers have been hit with three away games in a row, and will also travel to Tannadice to face Dundee United for a third time this season.

His attack comes 24 hours after St Mirren and Motherwell voiced their serious displeasure at the way their games have been arranged.

The Fir Park club are awaiting the SPL’s response to an official complaint lodged before deciding on their next step.

But Bain has not minced his words, and even had a veiled dig at Celtic counterpart Peter Lawwell by using the terminology “sporting integrity”.

That was the phrase used by Lawwell two years ago when Rangers asked for an extension to the season as they battled against a fixture backlog caused by their run to the Uefa Cup Final.

Bain told Rangers’ official website: “The time has come for a more considered debate on a structure that removes the split completely.

“We are pleased to be in a good position going into the post-split fixtures. However, we have not won anything and we feel the way the games have been scheduled places us at a competitive disadvantage.

“We find it disappointing and surprising we have been asked to play three consecutive away matches in the space of 10 days.

“We know we have work to do in our efforts to win the Championship, but it is maybe just as well we have a good lead.

“It is our understanding that clubs are never forced to play three away games in a row before the split – so we don’t know why we are being asked to do so now.

“Having played Dundee United twice at Tannadice, for example, in order to balance home and away fixtures, we are having to travel to Tannadice for a third time.

“There are a number of anomalies the post-split fixtures have thrown up and this highlights the unsatisfactory situation that currently exists with a 12-team league and a split after 33 games – and outside influences seem to be becoming major factors in determining these.

“The SPL have said the police did not want the final Old Firm game of the season to be decisive and therefore did not want it scheduled for fixture 34 or 35.

“They have also said they did not want the game on the weekend of May 1 and May 2 as this is a bank holiday weekend, but what difference does it make when the match is invariably played at 12.30pm?

“The other aspect is that Celtic are not being asked to go and play on the difficult surface at Fir Park when they have only played there once this season – does that equate to ‘sporting integrity’?

“I think we all recognise that, by its very nature, the split throws up a number of problems, but it seems clear work has to be done to ensure a more equitable outcome.

“I am sure there are a number of other clubs who are unhappy with the fixtures. In fairness to the SPL Executive, they are only working within a structure that has been thrust upon them.”

Motherwell are raging at having to go to Parkhead three times, and the fact they will finish with just 18 home games and 20 away. St Mirren are also upset at having to play relegation rivals Falkirk for a third time at their stadium.

Well chief executive Leeann Dempster said: “The fixture scheduling as it stands could have a devastating impact on the club. If the fixtures were to remain as they are it would cost the club in the region of £200,000.

“When you are in the top six the reward is normally another home game against the Old Firm, which, depending on the attendance, could be worth from £100,000 up to £150,000.

“We are going to be losing money because our two home games are live on television on a Sunday evening and a Thursday night, which has an impact on both attendances and the corporate side.”

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