Hearts chairwoman Ann Budge voted off SPFL board

Ann Budge was on the SPFL board last season
Ann Budge was on the SPFL board last season
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HEARTS chairwoman Ann Budge has been voted off the Scottish Professional Football League board despite seeking re-election.

Budge and Hamilton vice-chairman Les Gray’s places have been taken by Motherwell’s Alan Burrows and John Nelms of Dundee.

They joined Peter Lawwell as the top-flight’s representatives, the Celtic chief executive one of six chosen to represent the 42 member clubs at the SPFL’s annual general meeting.

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson decided to step down from the board and is now expected to pursue a slot on the Scottish Football Association’s Professional Game Board.

Morton’s Warren Hawke and Falkirk’s Martin Ritchie retained their places as the Championship’s delegates, while Stranraer chairman Iain Dougan will represent the bottom two divisions once again.

The six representatives will serve on the board for the 2018/19 season alongside an unchanged trio of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, chairman Murdoch MacLennan and independent non-executive director Karyn McCluskey.

Meanwhile, MacLennan has been given the backing of a number of club chiefs after he found himself under attack from Rangers chairman Dave King in recent weeks.

King has called on the media executive to step down from his SPFL position, which he only took up last summer, because of business links to Celtic shareholders Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien.

MacLennan had recently been appointed non-executive chairman of Irish-based Independent News & Media Group (INM). Desmond is listed as a major shareholder in INM – which publishes titles including the Irish Independent and Belfast Telegraph – along with O’Brien, who has a minor stake in Rangers’ Parkhead rivals.

King claims MacLennan’s business links to the Hoops hierarchy leaves “clear scope for (a) conflict of interest” but the SPFL insists it sees no problem with the arrangement.

It is understood Robertson did not raise the matter at the AGM.

Hamilton’s Gray said: “It wasn’t mentioned today and the SPFL have made their stance clear. From Hamilton’s point of view we’re entirely content for him to carry on.

“I don’t have any problem with Murdoch. I think he’s a good chairman and as far as I’m concerned the matter is closed.”