Manchester United director David Gill has been elected as Britain’s Fifa vice-president and insisted he would be a bullish presence on the world governing body.
Gill, who is also vice-chairman of the Football Association, will succeed Northern Ireland’s Jim Boyce in May and will have a four-year term on Fifa’s executive committee.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has said he wants Gill to be part of the “awkward squad” on Fifa, asking tough questions and keeping an eye on financial decisions.
Speaking at Uefa’s Congress in Vienna, however, Gill said: “I wouldn’t use the word awkward, I’ve always viewed my role at Manchester United and then the FA and the Premier League to ask relevant and appropriate questions. I don’t think that is being awkward that’s just doing the job. I’m not being elected just to get another blazer with four letters on it, I’m trying to play a role and assist my other colleagues from Uefa and some very good people from around the world.”
Uefa president Michel Platini, who persuaded Gill to change his mind and run for the post, added: “We have to defend European football without breaking world football. A lot people like things as they are. As I told him ‘You, the English, are never happy’. Now at least he will be able to express it directly in the ExCo instead of through the press.”
Gill, 57, beat Football Association of Wales’ president Trefor Lloyd Hughes by 43 votes to ten in the election by Uefa’s 54 member nations. Earlier, Lloyd Hughes and Scottish Football Association president Campbell Ogilvie failed in their attempt to be elected to Uefa’s executive committee. They were among 12 candidates for seven seats – in the second round of voting Lloyd Hughes secured only a single one of the possible 54 votes.
The new names on Uefa’s executive committee include former Croatia and Arsenal striker Davor Suker and Borislav Mikhailov, the ex-Reading and Bulgaria goalkeeper who was renowned for wearing a wig even in matches.
Uefa’s Congress also heard from the three challengers to Sepp Blatter’s Fifa presidency with the incumbent himself also addressing the European delegates, but refusing to do as a candidate. Blatter made no reference to standing again for Fifa president but once again urged football to resist calls to boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia due to its involvement in the civil war in Ukraine.
Dutch Football Association president Michael Van Praag was the most outspoken of Blatter’s challengers, saying: “The beautiful heritage of international football has been tarnished by accusations of corruption, bribery, nepotism and a waste of money.”
Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan said: “Fifa has been riding the wave of European football success and while the popularity has soared the image of the organisation has sadly declined.”