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By ESPN Staff

Topping replaces Gold as head of the SPL

Ralph Topping has replaced Lex Gold as non-executive chairman of the Scottish Premier League.

Gold stepped down from the post at Thursday's general meeting after more than 10 years in the role.

Topping takes up the position with the SPL with immediate effect and will also continue in his role at William Hill.

The 58-year-old is chief executive of William Hill PLC, where he is responsible for strategic direction and the day-to-day management and profitability of the group's operations.

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

"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.

"It has been a privilege to serve the SPL for over 10 years. 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 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.''

Rod Petrie, SPL board director and Hibernian chairman, said: "On behalf of the board and, more particularly, on behalf of all member clubs, I would like to thank Lex for his immense contribution to the Scottish Premier League.

"Lex has led the top flight of Scottish football with distinction and overseen a number of developments which have been important, not just for member clubs but for all supporters of the game.

"Lex deserves everyone's thanks for the dignified way in which he has conducted SPL business and he leaves with our very best wishes.''

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