It could cost the SPFL in the region of £800,000 to part company with Neil Doncaster, as Herald Sport can reveal that the league’s chief executive has a two-year notice period on his lucrative contract.

According to the latest SPFL accounts, Doncaster took home £392,000 in 2022 after bonuses were factored in, up from £388,000 the previous year and a massive increase on the £172,000 p.a. he received after first joining the organisation in 2012.

At various points during his long tenure as SPFL chief executive, Doncaster’s position has come under scrutiny, with the cinch dispute between the league, Rangers and Park’s Motor Group the latest controversy to bring his leadership into question.

READ MORE: Neil Doncaster SPFL notice period sticks out like sore thumb

Herald Sport exclusively revealed yesterday that the Ibrox club have now received permission from the Scottish FA to pursue legal action against the SPFL as they seek an apology and legal costs for the reputational damage they have suffered due to the row.

If Doncaster is forced into such a public climbdown it may prove damaging to him reputationally, while the cost to the league could end up running into many hundreds of thousands of pounds. But any notion that his position may come under threat because of the way that deal was handled has to be tempered by the additional sum it would directly cost the clubs to remove him from his post.

There is nothing illegal or improper about Doncaster being in possession of a two-year notice period, but it is highly irregular. The Combined Code on Corporate Governance (2003) recommends that ‘notice or contract periods should be set at one year or less. If it is necessary to offer longer notice or contract periods to new directors recruited from outside, such periods should reduce to one year or less after the initial period.’

A notice period of six months is considered typical for senior executives in the UK, while a 12-month notice period is not uncommon. Any notice period longer than one year though is highly unusual.

READ MORE: Rangers set to take SPFL to court with SFA blessing over cinch dispute

The decision to lengthen Doncaster’s notice period to 24 months was taken by the SPFL remuneration committee some time in the summer of 2021. Herald Sport understands that the explanation later given to the board for the decision was that it was a move to mitigate the risk of losing someone the committee viewed as a key member of personnel.

A source close to the SPFL said: "Issues such as the chief executive's contract, and all such matters, are dealt with and approved by the board following a rigorous and detailed process."