The recent comment by UEFA President Michel Platini that England’s bid for the 2018 FIFA world Cup was being hindered by the fact that it had not yet replaced Lord Triesman, the previous FA Chairman, brought into prominence the role of the president or chairman in a national federation.

When I first became involved in full time football administration in 1988 there were some major differences from the way things are organised today.

At the Scottish FA, the Secretary was Ernie Walker. There were elected Presidents, with a four year term but he was the man in charge of Scottish football. He was the driving force and he was good at his job.

The media sometimes called him ‘the Ayatollah,’ (not to his face) but he had a presence and was respected throughout world football. No-one was in any doubt who was in charge.

He was, of course a paid employee and not an elected official.

This was the situation in many football organizations.

At FIFA Sepp Blatter was the General Secretary and Joao Havelange was the President but Sepp was the driving force. He was the man in charge.

At UEFA, Gerd Aigner was the strong administrator while the UEFA President, Lennart Johansson, a hugely respected figure in world football, allowed him to get on with his work.

Things have changed today.

Perhaps the moment of change was at the FIFA Congress in Paris in 1998 when Sepp Blatter was elected FIFA President.

After being the hands on FIFA General Secretary there was no chance that he was going to be a figure head President. He became an executive President and appointed his deputy Michel Zen Ruffinen as General Secretary.

After Zen Ruffinen left in 2002, he was replaced by former FIFA Finance Director, Urs Linsi and he in turn has been  replaced by former Marketing Director Jerome Valcke.

But always Blatter was the executive President – driving initiatives forward and the face of FIFA.

The same situation was developing in the confederations.

When Mohamed Bin Hammam was elected President of AFC he became an executive President like Blatter and the role of Peter Vellapan, the General Secretary became different. Previously Dato’ Peter was the man in complete charge but things had changed and he moved on.

In Europe, the election of Michel Platini as UEFA President had the same effect. He is an executive President like Sepp Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam and did not require an executive General Secretary – so Gerd Aigner left.

If the administration of a federation is sound and driven by a strong leader it also has every chance of succeeding. If it does not have strong administration and leadership it will never make long term progress.

Football also needs Presidents in national federations who have the same drive, ideas and vision.

Executive Presidents are a problem for football only when they do not have the drive and vision to move forward.

Blatter, Bin Hammam and Platini are good for football. They are ideas people and, as Presidents, they deliver results.

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