KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association, is British football’s new vice-president on the governing council of world federation FIFA.
Clarke was elected to succeed England’s retiring David Will at the annual congress of European body UEFA in Rome.
He defeated David Martin of Northern Ireland by 37 votes to 18. Martin had opposed Clarke on the basis of the unwritten agreement that the FIFA role should be rotated among the four home nations.
Clarke had worked hard and travelled widely, mending bridges on behalf of the FA, over the past two years. His elevation was particularly significant in view of the expected formal bid from Britain and the Republic of Ireland to co-host the finals of the World Cup in 2030.
Political leaders from the Balkans have discussed a possible joint bid and serial loser Morocco has been exploring a cross-confederations Afro/European bid with Spain and Portugal.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is believed to favour the winning potential of a British/Irish proposal. The one firm contender at this early stage is a co-hosting bid from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, leaning on the possible appeal of a centenary tournament in the venue for the finals in Uruguay in 1930.
Sandor Csanyi, sometimes referred to as the richest man in Hungary, was elected unopposed as a FIFA vice-president. Reinhard Grindel, president of the German DFB, was elected unopposed as an ordinary member of the FIFA Council.
Csanyi was also re-elected on to the UEFA exco along with Fernando Gomes (Portugal) and Davor Suker (Croatia). New members of the exco are Armand Duka (Albania), Jesper Moller Christensen (Denmark), Luis Rubiales (Spain) and Andrii Pavelko (Ukraine).
The former Bulgaria goalkeeper Borislav Mihailov failed in his bid for re-election.
Florence Hardouin of France was re-elected unopposed for the specific women’s place on the UEFA exco.
The one controversial appointment was the ratification of the president of Paris Saint-German, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, as a second representative on the UEFA exco on behalf of the European Club Association.
Al-Khelaifi is under investigation in Switzerland over a World Cup bid rights issue concerning the Qatari TV sports channel beIN which he heads in Europe. Critics have also raised the issue of a possible conflict of interest concerning UEFA’s club competition rights in the Middle East and North Africa.