David Gill: FIFA has to become a respected body in football

Monday 23 Mar 2015
David Gill at IFAB last month

David Gill is eager to seize the opportunity to bring about change at FIFA – should he be voted in as vice president on football's global governing body.

Already The FA's vice chairman and a member of the UEFA executive committee, Gill is hoping to be voted in to replace Northern Ireland's Jim Boyce as the British representative on FIFA's executive committee at this week's congress in Zurich.

FIFA's Executive Committee

* Made up of 25 members
* Includes one president, one senior vice president and seven vice presidents
* At least one vice president must be from Great Britain
* UEFA has eight seats on the ExCo
* Meets at least twice a year

It is from that position where Gill, formerly chief executive of Manchester United, believes he can help FIFA get out of a "deep, dark area" and bring about greater "transparency and effectiveness". 

Gill told TheFA.com: "There is a whole myriad of things that I hope, as one of the 25 [executive committee members] at FIFA, I can contribute towards to try to ensure it moves forward in a very positive manner. 

"It is the governing body of football, football is the world’s sport, and therefore FIFA should be a respected body within that.

He added: "I believe the world’s governing body should remain and that UEFA, with eight seats on that body, can and should be a very effective voice."

The 57-year-old admits that he took time to convince himself he could stand as a candidate to lead the reform – and as FA Chairman Greg Dyke said on Sunday, act as "someone from the awkward squad asking tough questions of FIFA".

Gill said: "It is no secret that I first decided that I wasn’t going to stand and then I changed my mind.

"I spoke to people within The FA, who nominated me, and within UEFA, with key people who I have got to know over the past few years, and finally in world football. 

"To be vice president on FIFA is clearly a responsible position and I aim to hopefully contribute to that debate." 

If appointed, Gill hopes to work closely with the other seven European members who sit on the FIFA executive committee.

"I believe the world’s governing body should remain and that UEFA, with eight seats on that body, can and should be a very effective voice for change."

Michel Platini at SGP

(From left) Michel Platini, Greg Dyke, St. George's Park managing director Julie Harrington, and David Gill at the national football centre in November

Gill believes that whoever is elected on Tuesday – the Welsh FA president Trefor Lloyd Hughes is also standing – must work quickly to bring about reform.

"There is an urgent need for this. There have been some sensible changes to the governance of FIFA… but my personal view is that for change to be truly effected there needs to be a change of president. 

"We have got the election coming up in May and, although this isn’t personal against Mr [Sepp] Blatter, I do feel it is time for a change in FIFA. 

"If that happens then I truly believe we can move it forward."

Blatter, 79, was elected as FIFA president in 1998, but this year will be opposed for re-election by Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, Gill's UEFA executive committee member and Dutch federation chairman Michael van Praag, and former Portugal forward Luis Figo.

Gill said: "We have four candidates and three challenging Mr Blatter. That means that there is going to be a proper debate. 

"Each of those candidates has to lay out what they plan to do for FIFA - it is s very important and very serious job – and then hopefully when all the countries vote at the end of May we will have a clear idea of what each candidate stands for and how they will take this great game forward."

By James Callow Content manager