VIENNA: David Gill, former Manchester United chief executive, has been voted in as the new British associations’ vice-president of world federation FIFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Gill, who stepped down from his Old Trafford role in the summer of 2013 to become a club director, scored a landslide victory of 43 votes to 10 for Trefor Lloyd Hughes, the president of the Football Association of Wales, with one abstention.
Lloyd Hughes had insisted on standing in angry protest against what he believed was a betrayal by the Football Association of an unwritten principle of rotation of the role among the four FAs.
The catch was that in the past the role was a FIFA slot but ‘that’ British vice-presidency was scrapped in the reform process and Northern Ireland’s Jim Boyce will thus step down at FIFA Congress in May.
Change of mind
UEFA had decided, in response, to reserve one of its FIFA vice-presidencies for a representative from the British home associations. Lloyd Hughes and Scotland’s Campbell Ogilvie had been contenders while Gill had repeatedly averred, out of a concern that the FIFA role was overtly political.
Gill was persuaded, in the wake of FIFA’s ongoing trials and tribulations, to change his mind by both UEFA president Michel Platini and by Greg Dyke, the Football Association chairman.
Platini welcome Gill aboard with a half-jeste that “you English are never happy; now he can express it through the exco and not through the press.”
Dyke had expressed the hope that Gill, an FA vice-chairman, would prove a member of the “awkward squad” once appointed to FIFA .
Ogilvie withdrew from the race but Lloyd Hughes insisted on forcing a vote on the floor of UEFA Congress.
Before congress he had complained: “I’m sorry to say the English FA have really upset me and upset the FA of Wales as well and not just that but the people of Wales as well who are up in arms about it.Not just the football fraternity but outside as well.
“The agreement was there . . . I think the English FA can’t believe in principles any more. I think it’s very embarrassing for the English FA.”
After Congress at the FAW issued a statement from Lloyd Hughes in which he congratulated all the elected members but refused to mention Gill by name.
In other elections:
Angel Maria Villar Llona,president of the Spanish federation, was re-elected unopposed as one of UEFA’s FIFA vice-presidents;
Wolfgang Niersbach, president of the German federation, was elected as UEFA delegate on the FIFA executive committee in place of the retiring Theo Zwanziger.
Elected for seven seats on the executive committee for 2015–19 were: Fernando Gomes (Portugal, new), Sándor Csányi (Hungary, new), Peter Gilliéron (Switzerland), Ángel María Villar Llona (Spain), Grigoriy Surkis (Ukraine), Davor Šuker (Croatia, new) and Borislav Mihaylov (Bulgaria).