Laura McAlliste

Laura McAlliste, FIFA World Cup 2022. Pic: Getty Images.

Laura McAllister Boldly Goes Where No Woman Has Gone Before . . . UEFA Vice-Presidency

By Graham Thomas

Laura McAllister has become one of most influential people in European football after crowning her position on UEFA’s executive committee by also becoming a vice-president.

McAllister had her place on UEFA’s executive committee formally ratified and has become the first Welsh person to serve at that level on European football’s governing body.

But the former Wales captain – who learned she was standing unopposed for the position last month – has also been given a position as one of the seven UEFA vice-presidents.

She was welcomed onto the committee on Wednesday at UEFA’s Congress in Lisbon and will serve a four-year term.

Alongside her on that committee are former players who represent some of the greats of European football – such as Germany’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Davor Šuker of Croatia.

But – until now – there were no women on the current committee.

“I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me on this journey so far and to the FAW for nominating me,” McAllister said.

“Welsh football is breaking through a lot of glass ceilings currently and joining the executive committee will be a tremendous achievement for the FAW and a very proud moment for me and my family.

“This is the first time that Wales has had any representation on UEFA or FIFA for that matter, and I think it’s a sign of where we are as a sporting and football nation that we’ve not only been elected to UEFA’s top table, but the really pleasing news that I’ve been asked to be one of the vice-presidents as well.

“I want to be a voice for football but a female voice. I think that’s really fundamental that I’ll be the only woman on the UEFA executive committee, which says something about the work that we’ve got ahead of us in terms of diversifying the governance of European football.

“But I think the fact that unexpectedly the president, Aleksander Ceferin, asked me to take on one of the vice-president roles gives us a sign that there’s a real zeitgeist now around diversifying the governance of football.

“Aleksander made it clear to me that he wanted to have a woman in a senior position who could speak for the game, not just women’s football but for football generally, and that’s a tremendous honour and a really unexpected honour for me and for Wales.”

McAllister narrowly lost an election to be UEFA’s representative for women on FIFA’s ruling council in 2021.

European football’s governing body also confirmed that president Aleksander Ceferin has been re-elected for a third four-year term.

Ceferin took over as UEFA president from France’s Michel Platini in 2016.

Wales captain Sophie Ingle welcomed McAllsiter’s appoic xntment and said: “We’re all striving for better things now.

“We always want to improve the game, whether that be facilities, travel, the youth coming through, everything is always discussed with a leadership group within this environment.

“It’s always good to have people like Laura, because she always comes to the games and sometimes into camp, and we can bounce ideas off of her and that’s really helpful.”

Read more about Laura McAllister

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