Published Friday, 13 July 2012
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The move was confirmed following a vote by Scottish Football League chairmen at Hampden on Friday afternoon.
The 30 SFL teams were asked to decide on whether Charles Green's newco Rangers should enter the league and which division they should start in.
SFL chief executive David Longmuir said: "The member clubs of the Scottish Football League have today voted to willingly accept The Rangers Football Club as an associate member of the Scottish Football League.
"Furthermore, the Scottish Football League's only acceptable position will be to place Rangers FC into the Third Division of the Irn-Bru Scottish Football League from the start of this season."
He added: "I'm comfortable today that the Scottish Football League made a very, very decisive decision that was based on sporting fairness and I think the Scottish Football League were in the right place to make that decision.
"This decision followed a tried-and-tested process and was taken in cognisance with the other options which were available for consideration.
"Today's decision has been one of the most difficult for all concerned but it has been taken in the best interest of sporting fairness which is the fundamental principle of the Scottish Football League.
"The Scottish Football League has been entirely consistent with our willingness to work with other bodies to ensure that we focus on rebuilding our game, restoring pride in our game and exploring revenue streams and our willingness to achieve these aims does not alter."
The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Association had hoped the club were going to be parachuted into the First Division.
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan had said that putting the Ibrox side into the Third Division would bring financial catastrophe and a "slow, lingering death" of the game.
A statement on the official Rangers website confirmed discussions over forming an SPL2 were still up in the air following the vote.
The statement read: "It was mooted last week that plans for an SPL2 would swing into action in the event of today's outcome but it is not known if this will be the case."