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Robertson, Budge lose places

Budge leaves SPFL board as Hearts punished

Ann Budge

Hearts owner Ann Budge saw her club penalised by the SPFL (pic: SNS Group)


Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has replaced Rangers’ managing director Stewart Robertson on the SPFL board leaving the Ibrox club unrepresented.

Hearts owner Ann Budge and former Hamilton chairman Les Gray made way for John Nelms of Dundee and Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows in a shake-up of the board.

There was a further setback for Hearts at an SPFL disciplinary hearing. A sub-committee of the SPFL board charged the Edinburgh club with playing an ineligible player, Andrew Irving, in their Betfred Cup group stage match against Cove Rangers last Wednesday.

Hearts admitted breaching SPFL rules and were deducted two points from their Betfred Cup first-round group stage tally.

The club was also fined £10,000, with £8,000 suspended until the end of season 2019/20.

The penalty leaves the Jambos on three points from their two group stage fixtures, three points adrift of leaders Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Cowdenbeath. They play both teams in their remaining two matches.

The changes on the SPFL board saw the six representatives elected to represent the 42 member clubs at the SPFL annual general meeting at Hampden.

Warren Hawke (Morton), Martin Ritchie (Falkirk) and Iain Dougan (Stranraer) were chosen from the lower leagues to serve on the board for the 2018-19 season alongside SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, chairman Murdoch MacLennan and independent non-executive director Karyn McCluskey.

The SPFL also announced increased TV viewing figures for last season’s Ladbrokes Premiership.

Average viewership per match was 223,500, up from 207,000 in 2016/17.

The Celtic-Rangers clash on December 30, 2017 attracted an armchair audience of 973,000.

Europa League draw

The winners of the Europa League second-round tie between Aberdeen and Burnley will play Istanbul Basaksehir, who finished third in the Turkish league, in the third qualifying round.

Rangers will play Georgia’s Chikhura Sachkhere or Slovenians Maribor if they defeat Osijek of Croatia.

Hibernian will face Norway’s Molde or Albanians Laci if they overcome Asteras Tripolis of Greece in the second round.

The third-round ties will be played on 9 and 16 August.

Celtic play Rosenborg in a Champions League qualifier and the losers of that tie will drop down into Europa League qualifying to face Cork City.

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