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Will Hill Chief Appointed Head of Scottish Premier League

16th October 2009 8:10 am GMT

Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of UK bookmaker William Hill, has been appointed as Chairman of the Scottish Premier League (SPL), taking over from Lex Gould who steps down after ten years in charge. Mr Topping takes over with immediate effect whilst continuing in his role at William Hill.

Mr Gould announced his decision to step down as Chairman at the SPL's General Meeting yesterday following ten years in the role, and will be replaced immediately by William Hill's Ralph Topping.

"I am very excited to be joining the SPL in a role that marries three of my greatest passions - business, Scotland and football," said Ralph Topping, following his appointment.

"I've spent many afternoons on the terraces and in the stands across Scotland over the years and I am confident that this first-hand knowledge of the sport, together with my Scottish background, will allow me to successfully contribute to the SPL's development. I'm looking forward to working with the wider Board, the management team and the Clubs to continue to cultivate the Scottish game."

The SPL has 12 shareholders who are made up of representatives from member clubs.

"It has been a privilege to serve the SPL for over 10 years," said Lex Gould. "I am most grateful to all Board members with whom I have had the pleasure to work and for all the support, advice and friendship that I have enjoyed from the member clubs and SPL staff during my time as Chairman.

"Much has been achieved. But much more remains to be done. In that context, it is reassuring to know that, with the recent appointment of Neil Doncaster as Chief Executive and the appointment today of Ralph Topping as Chairman, the SPL will be in good hands. As I step down, I wish the SPL and all its member clubs every possible future success and look forward to watching the top level of our national game flourish in the coming years."

The Scottish Premier League is dominated by Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers, and is currently ranked 13th in the UEFA rankings of European leagues, which are based on the performances of member clubs in European competitions.

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