Football: Rangers want to opt out of cup

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The Independent Online
DICK ADVOCAAT, the Rangers coach, has admitted he would like to follow Manchester United's lead by withdrawing from a domestic cup competition. The Dutchman is concerned that his treble-winners' hopes of Champions' League success will be hindered by participation in the Scottish League Cup.

"At the time we are playing our European ties we're stuck with this competition which seems to be played for fun," he said.

"The League Cup has no value because it doesn't even give the trophy winners a place in Europe."

Not unexpectedly, Peter Donald, the Scottish Football League secretary, questioned his comments.

Late last week, the SFL pushed all rounds back from their original dates. They have also opted to follow England's example and exempt Scotland's European representatives until the third round. This means Rangers will not have to play a match in the competition until the second week in October, by which time the Champions' League will be almost halfway through.

"I am not sure when Dick's comments were made because if he had the full facts he would realise that Rangers are not required to play in any matches until mid-October, therefore what he is saying has been by-passed by events," Donald said. "I would like to think that the problem has been sorted."

The League Cup has been struggling to attract attention over the last few seasons and has been without a sponsor since 1997, but Donald insists that a tournament with a proud tradition, stretching back to 1946 when Rangers beat Aberdeen, will continue to flourish.