BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Hearts owner Ann Budge has been handed the opportunity to have her voice heard in the corridors of power despite missing out on a place on the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) board.
The 67-year-old has been appointed to the Scottish Football Association’s Football Regulatory Advisory Group (FRAG) alongside representatives from Celtic, Rangers, St Mirren, Annan, the SPFL and Harper Macleod solicitors.
Budge, who made her fortune in the IT industry, was a popular choice among supporters for a place at the top table after impressing with fresh ideas and a common sense approach during her maiden season in the sport.
But she saw her bid for election fail at Monday’s annual general meeting, with Celtic’s Eric Riley, Aberdeen’s Duncan Fraser and Stephen Thompson of Dundee United retaining their places as the Premiership representatives on the SPFL board.
Kilmarnock’s Jim Mann, Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie and Stewart Robertson of Rangers also failed in their bid to replace any of the existing incumbents.
However, Budge, who is thought to have run Thompson close in the voting, is the only nominee to have been subsequently handed a place on one of the game’s consultation committees – an offer she has gladly accepted.
An SPFL spokesperson confirmed: “The SPFL Board has appointed Ann Budge to the Scottish FA Football Regulatory Advisory Group (‘FRAG’). Ann has accepted the nomination.
“She will join Brian Caldwell (St Mirren FC), Andrew Dickson (Rangers FC), Henry McClelland (Annan Athletic FC), Michael Nicholson (Celtic FC), Rod McKenzie (Harper Macleod solicitors) and Iain Blair (SPFL Company Secretary), all of whom stay on FRAG as SPFL representatives.”