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Murdoch MacLennan to replace Ralph Topping as SPFL chairman

The SPFL directors vote unanimously to appoint senior media figure.

FOOTBALL 12/07/17 09:21

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has appointed one of the UK’s most senior media figures to replace chairman Ralph Topping.

Murdoch MacLennan will take over from Topping when he stands down on August 1.

Currently deputy chairman of Telegraph Media Group, having stood down as chief executive last month, the 68-year-old Glaswegian is also chairman of the Press Association, an Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School and for the last eight years has been the Chancellor’s Assessor at the Court of the University of Glasgow.

He was the unanimous choice of the SPFL directors having been identified for the position by respected sports executive search agency Nolan Partners.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Murdoch brings with him a wealth of top-level business and media experience and has been at the cutting edge of the digital revolution as CEO and now deputy chairman of the Telegraph Media Group. He demonstrated a real passion for the role and a clear insight into the opportunities and challenges we will face in the years ahead.

“There was very strong interest in the role from a host of highly-qualified candidates, but Murdoch was the board’s unanimous choice and we look forward to working with him as we continue to drive the game to even greater success in Scotland.”

MacLennan said: “I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next chairman of the Scottish Professional Football League, and to build on the achievements of Ralph Topping.

“I am so proud to be a part of its future. I greatly look forward to working with Neil Doncaster and to the opportunities and challenges that are ahead for the whole of Scottish football.”

Topping, the former chief executive of William Hill bookmakers, announced his intention to step down from the Hampden post he has held for almost eight years back in January.

The derby between Rangers and Celtic remains the biggest game in Scottish football
The derby between Rangers and Celtic remains the biggest game in Scottish football (Craig Watson/PA)

“I’ve greatly enjoyed my time in Scottish football and it was an honour to be chairman of the SPL [Scottish Premier League] and SPFL, especially during a period of substantial change and challenge,” he said.

“After advising the SPFL Board in January that developing business commitments meant that I had decided to leave, I am delighted that my final act as chairman is to have secured the appointment of Murdoch as the new chairman.”

Ralph Topping steps down as SPFL chairman on August 1
Ralph Topping steps down as SPFL chairman on August 1 (David Jensen/PA)

Doncaster added: “I have very much enjoyed working with Ralph, who has played a key role in steering the SPL and SPFL through some turbulent times.

“He has been a huge and positive influence behind the scenes, particularly in the successful 2013 merger of the SPL and SFL [Scottish Football League].

“I doubt very much whether that merger would have happened without his expertise, vision and diplomacy.”

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