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Monday 04 Mar 2024
Campbell recognised for IFAB service

The Co Antrim man who is the longest serving member of football’s lawmaking body is stepping down after 39 years’ service.

William Campbell was recognised for his contribution and service at the 138th annual general meeting of The International Football Association Board (IFAB) staged in Scotland over the weekend.

Campbell, who is an advisor to the Irish Football Association, received a farewell gift from FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

A familiar figure in football circles across Northern Ireland, Mallusk man Campbell left his full-time role with the Irish FA in July 2021 after 38 years’ service. He was Head of the Chief Executive’s Office when he retired, however he held several other positions in the organisation down the years.

He organised the hosting in Belfast of seven IFAB AGMs, most recently in 2015 and 2020.

He was also responsible for the introduction of the ‘equalisation rule in the taking of penalties from the penalty mark’ whereby if one team enters a penalty shootout with less than 11 players (either due to a sending off or injury) the other side will reduce their numbers to be equal with them.

His first IFAB involvement was in 1985 in Belfast when he was minute taker. Apart from being responsible for the organisation of seven AGMs, he has attended 30 annual meetings, including every one since 1997.

He said: “I have been privileged to be able to operate as part of The IFAB on behalf of the IFA and to make input on behalf of ordinary football fans.

“IFAB’s work as the guardians of the Laws of the Game must encompass the whole game and the laws are the same whether it’s the World Cup Final or a match in the Ballymena Saturday Morning League.

“This universality of the laws gives it great strength and I know that the serious discussions on the hot topics of the day, such as VAR, hand ball, sin bins etc, will continue with that universality in the background.”

Campbell thanked former Irish FA General Secretary David Bowen for starting him on his IFAB journey as well as current chief executive Patrick Nelson and all the Presidents and office bearers he has worked with over the past 39 years.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege and now is the time to pass the baton,” he added.

IFAB comprises of representatives from FIFA, The FA, Irish FA, Scottish FA and Football Association of Wales.

Mike Riley, the Irish FA’s Head of Refereeing, will replace Campbell as the Irish FA representative on the IFAB Technical Sub Committee.

Image: William Campbell is presented with a farewell gift by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Looking on are (from left) IFAB CEO Lukas Brud, Irish FA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson, Irish FA President Conrad Kirkwood and David Elleray, Technical Director at IFAB.