David Martin: Irish FA president elected to Fifa vice-president’s role

Irish FA president David Martin takes the role made vacant by Greg Clarke's departure in November
David Martin’s election to the Fifa role continues his remarkable comeback

Irish FA president David Martin has been elected as a Fifa vice-president after winning the vote for the position reserved for the UK associations.

Martin defeated FA of Wales president Kieran O’Connor and Scottish FA vice-president Mike Mulraney for the role at Uefa’s Congress in Montreux.

The Northern Ireland candidate got 48 of the 55 votes in the election

The £190,000 post became vacant after FA chairman Greg Clarke’s resignation in November.

Clarke quit his posts over unacceptable language he used when referring to black players during a Westminster parliamentary committee session.

Martin, who was defeated by Clarke in a previous election for the post in 2019, will serve a two-year term.

World governing body Fifa has eight vice-president positions, one of which is reserved for the four UK associations.

Martin’s remarkable comeback

Martin’s election to the role continues a remarkable comeback for the Northern Ireland man after he was forced to leave his then position as Irish FA vice-president in 2010, along with then president Raymond Kennedy, after then Northern Ireland Sports Minister Nelson McCausland deemed the governing body “not fit for purpose”.

This followed an independent report into the departure of previous IFA chief executive Howard Wells which strongly criticised the roles of Martin and Kennedy. Wells left the IFA in 2008 and his departure culminated in an unfair dismissal case that cost the governing body over £500,000.

Martin made three unsuccessful attempts to regain a place in the IFA hierarchy after failing independent competency tests that had been put in place for future holders of high office in the association.

However, these competency tests were removed from IFA rules at the football governing body’s 2013 annual general meeting, which opened the door for Martin’s return as the association’s vice-president and he became the governing body’s president three year later.

Martin’s terms as IFA president has seen the governing body earn kudos for the reopening of Windsor Park, a successful staging of the Women’s European Under-19 finals in addition to the National Stadium being named host venue for this year’s Uefa Super Cup.

He becomes the third Northern Ireland man to hold the Fifa vice-president’s role after the previous terms of Harry Cavan and Jim Boyce.

BBC News