SPL has "great standing" - Doncaster

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Neil Doncaster insists he would not have joined the Scottish Premier League if he had any doubts about its quality.

Doncaster, 39, was on Wednesday unveiled as the SPL's first chief executive for seven years and acknowledged he faces a number of challenges in his new role, but is adamant the league remains one of the top divisions in Europe.

"I think the quality of the product is not in doubt," he said. "I think that the SPL has a great standing within Europe. I'm very excited about the prospect of the SPL and if I weren't, I wouldn't be here."

One of those is combating a perception Scottish football is on the slide, with questions raised over the standard of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League following a succession of disappointing results in Europe in the past year.

Doncaster, who spent eight years as chief executive at Norwich, revealed one of his first tasks will be to identify alternative revenue streams for clubs who were banking on the £125million television deal with Setanta before the broadcaster went into administration last month. The SPL may now be forced to settle for half that figure jointly paid for by Sky and ESPN.

Doncaster knows all about the pain of seeing a lucrative television deal go up in smoke. He was a year into his tenure as Norwich chief executive when ITV Digital went bust back in 2002.

The broadcaster had a multi-million pound contract with the Football League and many clubs struggled to cope without the windfall they had budgeted for.

There are parallels with the plight of SPL sides following the demise of Setanta but Doncaster insisted English clubs bounced back and is certain the SPL can do the same.

Recalling Norwich's troubles, he said: "It was a difficult time but the clubs got through it at that time and I think they're stronger for it. If I were concerned about the prospects of the SPL, I wouldn't be here."

Doncaster is the SPL's first chief executive since Roger Mitchell resigned in 2002, ironically after the collapse of another TV deal. The new man does not have an untarnished track record, having resigned from Norwich following their relegation to Coca-Cola League One.

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Norwich City
Doncaster Rovers
League One
Premier League

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