British link to Fifa executive will remain

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BRITAIN’S long-term presence on the Fifa executive committee will be retained despite the abolition of the British vice-presidency, general secretary Alex Horne revealed last night.

The British vice-presidency will be abolished at today’s Fifa Congress in Mauritius, a trade-off for the four British associations of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales retaining their influence on the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body responsible for the laws of the game.

However, Britain will retain a permanent seat on the executive committee as one of the three European vice-presidents proposed and seconded by Uefa, European soccer’s governing body. “We proposed to our colleagues in the rest of Europe that one of the vice-presidents should come from Britain and they were all happy with that,” said Horne, speaking after Uefa’s strategy meeting ahead of the Congress.

“The good thing for us is that it moves the four British associations closer to Europe and does not leave us isolated.

“Unlike before, when the British vice-president was decided by the four associations, in future the four candidates will be presented to Uefa and all of the Uefa countries will vote to decide who is elected. It will be in the statutes on Friday and will take effect from 2015.”

The British vice-president is currently Jim Boyce of Northern Ireland, who will remain on the executive until his term ends in two years. Then the seat will revert back to Uefa’s “ownership” without the vice-presidency tag attached to it.

The British vice-presidency came into existence in 1946 when English FA general secretary Stanley Rous, who was Fifa president from 1961 to 1974, brokered a deal to raise funds after World War Two for then-impoverished Fifa by staging a Britain v Rest of the World game in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, Uefa president Michel Platini believes there is no will within Fifa for age and term limits on senior officials after a proposal was dropped from Fifa’s Congress. “President (Sepp) Blatter said that the reforms would be concluded at the 2013 Congress but now they are not,” said Platini, adding that the seven European members of Fifa’s 24-strong executive committee were unhappy the proposal had been postponed. “We have been speaking about this for two years,” said Platini, who wants a limit on the number of terms elected officials can serve, as well as age limits.

“The seven European members of the executive committee were not happy about the postponement. Do you think there will be an agreement by next year? No there will not, because it concerns Blatter, it concerns people who are 83 years of age, these are the people who are the judge and the jury.”