What will the price of sporting integrity be?
Rangers have been placed in the bottom tier of Scottish football in the name of sporting integrity. But what will the financial cost to the Scottish game be?
The honest answer is that no one really knows. The figure of £16m a year has been bandied around by the Scottish Football Association, but I have never seen a proper explanation of its components.
One potential area of loss is the television contract, admittedly far less lucrative than in the Premiership, but still significant. Sky, the principal broadcasting partner, made it clear that they could tolerate one year without any Old Firm fixtures, but not three. Then there is the question of finding a replacement as sponsor for Clydesdale Bank from the 2013-14 season onwards. Last but not least, there is the revenue that Scottish Premier League (SPL) teams will lose from fixtures against Rangers with their big away support.
It has been estimated that half the teams in the SPL are in a financially precarious position. Kilmarnock and Motherwell are thought to be especially vulnerable to reduced income, but the directors of Inverness Caledonian Thistle have been holding an emergency board meeting to discuss the situation.
It may also be more difficult for the SPL to pay its annual £2.8m subsidy to the Scottish Football League (SFL), agreed when the two leagues split in 1998. As many as 20 smaller SFL clubs could be in jeopardy if this money was withdrawn.
As for Rangers, they have already lost two, albeit not major, sponsorships. However, they might be able to raise some money by paying exhibition matches in North America. They may also revive the idea of an Atlantic League for smaller European countries, although that has been around for a decade without going anywhere. The same applies to the idea of the two Glasgow clubs joining the English Championship.
All one can say with any confidence is that Scottish football, already in a difficult position, faces a more precarious and uncertain future.