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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:28 UK

Murray fury at SPL fixture stance

Sir David Murray
Murray said Scottish football was becoming a laughing stock

Rangers have described the SPL's decision not to extend the season for a second time as "laughable".

The Ibrox club failed in their attempt to have Saturday's league game against Dundee United postponed.

Rangers wanted time to prepare for next Wednesday's Uefa Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg, but the SPL said no "viable alternative" could be found.

"Throughout the world, people will laugh at this decision in disbelief," said Rangers chairman Sir David Murray.

The SPL said on Tuesday that the season would not be extended again to ease Rangers' fixture congestion.

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SPL chairman Lex Gold said there was no "viable alternative" to the fixture list the league issued on 22 April.

Rangers manager Walter Smith was critical of the SPL for not offering them any help to prepare for their first European final in 36 years.

Opponents Zenit St Petersburg will not have to play another game before next Wednesday's final in Manchester.

The SPL and SFA met on Tuesday to discuss the situation, but failed to agree an alternative to the current fixture list.

"It's a matter of public record that yesterday we were unable to agree a request from Rangers FC to extend the season still further beyond Thursday, 22 May," Gold said.

SPL chairman Lex Gold
No viable alternatives to the fixture list issued on 22 April emerged

SPL chairman
Lex Gold

"This decision was made on the basis that there had been no material change in circumstances since we published the revised Model 2 fixture list.

"The SFA indicated late yesterday that they wished to discuss whether there was any help they could provide.

"The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere. But no viable alternatives to the fixture list issued on 22 April emerged that did not place the integrity of the SPL competition at risk.

"Given the stage we have now reached in our competition, both in terms of the title chase and in relation to the European places, it's not possible to modify the closing date of the season without placing at serious risk the fairness to all of our competition."

Sir David said he was angered but not surprised by the SPL's decision.

"Throughout the world, people will laugh at this decision in disbelief and none more so than in Russia as their own association has done everything it can to assist FC Zenit St Petersburg," he said.

"What has happened here is footballing authorities not being proactive in their assistance but only at this late stage by being reactive through embarrassment. "

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said the date of the Scottish Cup final would not be changed.

"A range of options and issues were explored, including the date of the Scottish Cup final.

"However, it was felt that, at this late stage, it was not a viable move as it would not open up any room for change in the SPL programme."

Smith added: "The Scottish Cup final will go ahead as planned on Saturday 24 May."

Earlier, Queen of the South manager Gordon Chisholm told BBC Scotland the Scottish Cup finalists were opposed to moving the Hampden game.


see also
Rangers v Motherwell
06 May 08 |  Scottish Premier
Zenit fans snap up Uefa tickets
05 May 08 |  Rangers
Smith says fatigue not an issue
04 May 08 |  Rangers
Uefa win triggers delayed climax
02 May 08 |  Scottish Premier


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