England reshuffle their political pack with Gill persuaded to go again at UEFA

November 17 – England have scrambled to retain a seat at the top table of European football with David Gill reportedly having agreed to continue for another four-year term on UEFA’s executive committee.

Gill, if elected, would be entering a third and final term. England FA chairman Greg Clarke had been expected to stand in Gill’s place as England lead a home nations’ bid for the 2030 World Cup.

Clarke stood down from his England post following racially insensitive comments made to a parliamentary select committee last week. He then resigned from his FIFA vice-presidency.

The Times reports that Gill will not stand again as Britain’s FIFA vice president, a position that position is the preserve of the ‘home nations’ but whose representative is voted on by UEFA’s 55 nations. Gill stepped away from that role last year with former Clarke taking over.

Northern Ireland’s David Martin is favourite to fill that post though it is unclear if any of the other home nations will submit a candidate.

Gill’s continuance on the UEFA executive committee is not guaranteed. In 2017 he was elected for a second term for one of the eight places on the committee from a field of 12 candidates. The committee has 16 seats in total.

Nominations have to be made two months before the election that will take place at UEFA’s Congress in March.

Gill’s agreement to continue is important for England’s 2030 hosting ambitions. He has built a network within UEFA and its member associations where he has been the organisation’s treasurer.

Clarke had been building his own networks within member federations where he had been finding allies and won friends with a more open and sympathetic demeanour than the more traditional entitled arrogance that English FA chairmen had become noted for as they strode international football’s corridors of power. It is a criticism not exclusive to past English FA chairman but often made of chairmen from UEFA’s other ‘Big 5’ nations.

Gill will keep a continuity for England at the heart of European decision-making power. That will be important if they are to eventually win a preferred single nomination from Europe for the 2030 World Cup bid.

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