Rangers boss slams SPL over Setanta fiasco

Walter Smith claims the Scottish Premier League's power brokers should have resigned following the collapse of the Setanta television deal.

Walter Smith claims the Scottish Premier League's power brokers should have resigned following the collapse of the Setanta television deal.

The Rangers chief believes the SPL's decision two years ago to snub Sky in favour of the Irish broadcaster accelerated a downward spiral which has led to Scottish football suffering a succession of humiliating results in Europe.

Smith said: "The people running our game knocked back Sky - in my opinion one of the best football broadcasters in the world - and took Setanta, a newly-formed company.

"They lost a fortune doing so and they are still all sitting in their positions. How can that be? We cost ourselves a fortune by bad decisions. And at the end of that, we (the clubs) go and suffer."

Setanta's UK operation went out of business this summer and the SPL clubs were forced to accept a vastly-reduced deal with Sky and ESPN.

Despite pointing the finger at the SPL, Smith believes the Scottish game's problems run deeper than that.

He said: "The problems in Scottish football are not new.

"The higher level of our own domestic player has dried up, and we can't afford to get the higher level of player in, so we are being hit on two fronts at the same time.

"And that situation has brought it around to what we have now, where some seasons we can look all right, and other seasons we don't look so clever. This is one of the years where we haven't started too well."

Smith's solution is for is for Rangers and Celtic to leave the Scottish game altogether.

He said: "Rangers and Celtic are ready to play in a big European league.

"Last season, I was criticised when I said that Rangers and Celtic bring in a level of football to Scotland which is higher than we have at the present moment.

"It might save football in Scotland, because if it continues the way it is going just now, we will have a problem. We will have no higher rated teams at all. That to me is the biggest problem of the lot."