|CEO of the Scottish Professional Football League|
3 July 2013
|CEO of the Scottish Premier League|
Neil Doncaster (born 1970) is an association football executive. He was appointed as chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League in July 2013, having previously held the same position at the Scottish Premier League from 2009 to 2013 and at Norwich City F.C. from 2001 to 2009.
Born in Devon, Doncaster graduated from Bristol University in 1992, qualified as a solicitor and worked for four years for Burges Salmon, solicitors. In 2008, he obtained an MBA from the University of East Anglia.
Career in Football
Doncaster joined Norwich City in November 1997 as company secretary and solicitor, and two years later he was promoted to Head of Operations before taking up the role of Chief Executive in 2001. During his time at Norwich, he took an active role in English football. From 2006, he was a director of The Football League. In July 2008, he was elected to The Football Association board as one of two representatives of The Football League.
As Chief Executive of Norwich City, Doncaster oversaw their promotion to the Premier League for the 2004/05 season. However, after the team's relegation from The Championship to League One in May 2009, he stepped down from his position, along with Chairman Roger Munby. In the following months, he also left his positions on the boards of The Football Association and The Football League.
On 7 July 2009, Doncaster was appointed Chief Executive of the Scottish Premier League. During his time at the SPL, Doncaster has presided over the crisis that saw Rangers go into administration as well as ongoing efforts to restructure the league. Those efforts were concluded in 2013, as the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League were merged into a single league for all 42 professional clubs. The Scottish Professional Football League was created on a one club, one vote basis, with a pyramid structure, allowing non-league clubs to compete for entry to the professional leagues, and a redistribution of wealth in favour of the second tier. It also saw the return of play-offs between teams in the top two divisions, the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Championship.
On 3 July 2013, it was confirmed that Doncaster had beaten David Longmuir to the position of Chief Executive of the newly formed Scottish Professional Football League. In the same year, Doncaster was elected to the board of the European Professional Football Leagues.
In the summer of 2015, Doncaster confirmed that the British bookmaker Ladbrokes would be the new sponsor of all Scottish Professional Football League competitions, the first sponsor of the top tier of Scottish football since Clydesdale Bank's deal ran out in 2013. Labrokes' deal, believed to be worth £2m per year over two years, is said to be "the biggest ever of its kind in Scottish football".
- Featured alumni: Neil Doncaster (LLB 1992) University of Bristol
- New signing for UEA University of East Anglia, 19 September 2005
- Cuffley, David (9 July 2008). "Doncaster takes on enforcer's role". The Pink 'Un. Archant Community Media. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
- "Pair step down from Norwich board". BBC Sport. BBC. 12 May 2009.
- "Doncaster appointed new SPL chief". BBC Sport. BBC. 7 July 2009.
- "SPL chief Neil Doncaster refuses to be blamed for vote failure". BBC Sport. BBC. 16 April 2013.
- "SPFL created after all-night talks". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 28 June 2013.
- Sky, BT Sport Expected To Bid As Much As $11M For New SPFL Playoff Games Sports Business Global, 17 June 2013
- Press Release - SPFL CEO Scottish Premier League, 3 July 2013
- EPFL Annual Report of Activities 2013-2014 European Professional Football Leagues, Nyon, Switzerland, 2014
- Ladbrokes announced as title sponsor Scottish Professional Football League, 13 May 2015
- Ladbrokes named first SPFL sponsor since 2013 Mail Online, 13 May 2015
- SPFL names Ladbrokes as sponsor in £4m deal BBC News, Scotland, 13 May 2015
- Doncaster welcomes Ladbrokes as new SPFL sponsors Herald Scotland, 13 May 2015