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Britain to retain FIFA vice-presidency

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino. Photo: Joe Giddens/EMPICS UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino. Photo: Joe Giddens/EMPICS

Friday, January 25, 2013
7:15 AM

Britain’s historic FIFA vice-presidency is set to be saved from threatened extinction after European football associations unanimously decided to back moves to retain the post.

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The 53 UEFA countries will elect the British representative themselves however rather than merely accept the nomination of the four home nations.

The new policy was agreed as part of UEFA associations’ proposals for FIFA reforms, under which they will also propose that from 2015 the FIFA president will serve an eight-year first term and then be permitted a second four-year term, mirroring the International Olympic Committee.

The European countries also decided at a meeting today to propose an age limit of 72 for elections to the FIFA presidency and executive committee. The British FIFA vice-presidency has existed since 1946 with the idea it is shared between the four home nations - the current incumbent is Northern Ireland’s Jim Boyce.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said there was widespread support for the British position being maintained.

He said: “Everyone seemed to feel that there is a good reason why the British vice-presidency has been established and this should be maintained, and on this one nobody raised any objection.

“The move of the four British associations to propose that all 53 UEFA associations elect the British vice-president has certainly helped in this respect as it brings the British closer to the centre of European football.”

In respect of the FIFA presidential term limit, Infantino admitted that UEFA would not be adopting the same rule.

He said: “But UEFA has never been involved in any scandal or anyone claimed there is anything wrong with governance of UEFA so there is no need certainly for this to happen.

“As a democratic organisation if the members ask for some of these rules to be implemented they can do it.

“The IOC has got this rule but not every national Olympic committee. “Chairing a world governing body is not the same as if you are chairing an association or confederation - the world is much bigger and the rules have to be different.”

The age limit would not apply to those currently on the executive committee however - meaning if implemented current president Sepp Blatter could change his mind and stand again in 2015.

Infantino added: “If a transitional measure is adopted according to which the age limit does not apply to those already there then potentially Mr Blatter could run for a term of eight years - but Mr Blatter has already declared he will not.”

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