English FA’s David Gill rejects FIFA executive committee place

Martyn Ziegler 08:05 31/05/2015
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A question of conscience: David Gill.

English FA vice-chairman David Gill says the “terribly damaging events” of the past week convinced him to reject a place on FIFA’s executive committee.

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Gill, a Manchester United director, did not attend yesterday’s first executive committee meeting following Blatter’s re-election to a fifth term in office, where he was due to sit as Britain’s FIFA vice-president.

Blatter beat rival presidential candidate Prince Ali of Jordan despite the crisis which has seen seven FIFA officials arrested, 18 people indicted by US justice authorities, and a Swiss criminal investigation into 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding.

Gill said in a statement: “This action is not something I take lightly but the terribly damaging events of the last three days have convinced me it is not appropriate to be a member of the FIFA executive committee under the current leadership.

“I do recognise that Mr Blatter has been democratically elected and wish FIFA every success in tackling the many troubling issues it faces.

“However, my professional reputation is critical to me and I simply do not see how there will be change for the good of world football while Mr Blatter remains in post.

“I will continue to focus on my positions within the FA and UEFA, which I take seriously and am privileged to hold.”

The British vice-presidency is elected by UEFA members and an election for that post is now likely to take place.

Gill added: “Out of respect for the other 208 member associations, it was right to wait until after the election to confirm my decision.”

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin has congratulated Blatter on his re-election.

“Putin expressed certainty that Blatter’s experience, professionalism and high level of authority will further allow him to spread the geographical reach and popularity of football,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin has portrayed the American investigation into FIFA’s alleged corruption as a ploy aimed at pressuring the organisation into scrapping the World Cup in Russia due to tensions over Ukraine.

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