If sport in its purest form is about anything it is about integrity.
The chairmen of the 30 Scottish Football League clubs put sporting integrity above business interests yesterday when they voted overwhelmingly to take Newco Rangers into the third division. The decision is understandable and draws a line under what has been an unedifying spectacle.
Now that the decision has been taken after months of confusion over possible scenarios, it is in the interests of the game that everyone involved in Scottish football accepts the assurances of Rangers chief executive Charles Green that he is happy to play in division three and presses on with next season's fixtures.
This will not be without difficulties, especially for many of the Scottish Premier League clubs whose parlous financial state means they can ill afford the seemingly inevitable cut in television revenue.
Too many clubs have been living beyond their means for too long. Unpleasant as the tangled Rangers saga has been, it should not be unreasonable to hope that the club's demise and reappearance in the lowest division of the league will eventually prove a pivotal moment from which Scottish football can emerge leaner, fitter and primed for success.
It is already clear that other clubs must lose no time in putting their finances in better order and fans may have to demonstrate their own sporting integrity if lack of funds were to force other clubs from the SPL into division one. The running of Scottish football had already been put under the microscope in a wide-ranging report by former First Minister Henry McLeish, prompting debate about wide-ranging reform.
That must now be taken on as a matter of urgency. In the ramifications of the Rangers liquidation, the administration of the game has been exposed to new scrutiny and found wanting.
When there are three separate bodies, the chief executive of each has a clear duty to promote the best interests of its members. Conflict is inevitable and criticism of individuals for pursuing their own agenda is unhelpful.
Nevertheless, Stewart Regan, chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, and Neil Doncaster, heading the SPL, have both been so dismissive of the quality of Scottish clubs and the prospects for the game without Rangers in division one poised for an early return to the SPL, that their positions will probably come under scrutiny. Certainly, the time has come for one governing body for Scottish football.
The Rangers fans who have supported the idea of starting at the bottom on the basis that it wipes the slate clean are to be commended for their stance, Mr Green did his best to match that sentiment yesterday when saying: "We are a football club and we just want to get back to playing football."
It won't be that simple, either for Rangers or for the 41 other professional clubs but learning to accept hard decisions is one of the first lessons of any game.
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