Hibs chairman Rod Petrie to get unopposed promotion to SFA presidency

Rod Petrie will become the third Hibs chairman to hold the SFA presidency. Pic: SNS
Rod Petrie will become the third Hibs chairman to hold the SFA presidency. Pic: SNS
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Hibs chairman Rod Petrie will become the 53rd president of the Scottish Football Association when his uncontested accession to the role is confirmed today.

The 63-year-old will replace outgoing president Alan McRae, pictured, at the SFA annual general meeting at Hampden.

Petrie has served on Scottish FA committees since 1998, been a director on the main board since 2007 and became a vice-president in 2011.

While his route to the presidency has been clearly mapped out for some time, there has been growing disquiet among many within Scottish football over what appears an increasingly anachronistic system of appointing office bearers.

Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, who resigned from the Scottish FA board three years ago, is among those who have called for restructuring at the top of the organisation.

But despite speculation over a potential challenge to Petrie for the presidency, no alternative candidate emerged before the March 31 deadline.

Petrie becomes only the third representative from Hibs to hold the highest office of the Scottish game’s governing body in its 146-year history.

The first was Harry Swan, who was SFA president from 1952 to 1956. Regarded as a visionary and a moderniser – not a perception afforded to very many who served either before or after him – Swan was a driving force in overcoming initial resistance within the SFA and Scottish League to the emergence of European club competitions which Hibs were the first to embrace.

Tommy Younger, the former Hibs, Liverpool and Scotland goalkeeper, was the second Easter Road official to become SFA president. He was appointed in 1983, while a Hibs director, but his tenure was sadly cut short by his untimely death at the age of 53 in January 1984.

Petrie’s successor as vice-president will be Mike Mulraney, the Alloa Athletic chairman who replaced Lawwell on the Scottish FA board in 2016. Mulraney, 50, will also be elected unopposed.

The Scottish FA will release their annual report at the agm and it is expected to show relatively healthy financial figures once more. Last year, there was a turnover of £38.5 million and a net profit of around £450,000.

But the impact of their first year without a headline sponsor of the national team, following the end of Vauxhall’s seven-year involvement last season, has still to be addressed. Securing replacement sponsors and new commercial streams of income will be a priority for new president Petrie and chief executive Ian Maxwell.

One resolution at the agm concerns the process of obtaining membership of the Scottish FA within the pyramid system.

There was controversy this year when Bonnyrigg Rose, who switched from the junior ranks last season, had their membership application turned down because they did not have floodlights at their New Dundas Park ground at the time.

Floodlights have subsequently been installed ahead of next season, as the club had pledged, but the East of Scotland League champions have been denied their promotion to the Lowland League as the Scottish FA deemed they had no right of appeal.

The resolution before the agm proposes a new form of associate membership for clubs in the pyramid which would precede them having to gain full membership.