Gibraltar’s Michael Llamas appointed to FIFA’s Ethics Committee
Michael Llamas, the president of the Gibraltar FA, was elected as a member of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, a highly prestigious and key judicial section of football’s international governing body.
Mr Llamas will represent European federations on the committee’s Investigatory Chamber, which is responsible for probing possible infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The appointment is a significant development not just for Gibraltar football, but for the Rock’s international profile too.
It comes just a year after Gibraltar joined FIFA following decades of litigation.
Speaking from FIFA’s 67th Congress in Manama, Bahrain, Mr Llamas said the appointment reflected Gibraltar’s positive perception on the world stage.
“It means we are seen as a serious member and that we have acquired recognition for our integrity, competence and ethical behaviour,” he told the Chronicle.
“It is great for us to be present in such an important FIFA Committee and this will further help us in putting Gibraltar on the map of world football.”
He added: “Considering the litigious background to both our UEFA and FIFA memberships, this appointment to an important and prestigious Committee after only one year of membership, and coming from one of the smaller football nations, is a great vindication of the stature we are acquiring in the world governing body of football.”
GFA General Secretary Dennis Beiso said the appointment was a reflection of “the great strides” being taken by the GFA internationally both within FIFA and UEFA.
“I am especially pleased Michael’s great contribution to the relationship between the GFA and the world governing body of football has been recognised in such a significant way,” he said.
“That Gibraltar now has, within only one year of membership, such an important seat on one of FIFA’s key Committees is truly remarkable and a fitting testament to Michael’s work in this regard.”
The news was also welcomed by the Gibraltar Government, which said the appointment was not onerous in terms of time commitments and would not interfere with Mr Llamas' role and obligations as Gibraltar's Attorney General.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the appointment was a great personal achievement for Mr Llamas and "a magnificent recognition" of the GFA.
“The Gibraltarian who sued FIFA and UEFA and won has been recognised for his integrity and his legal skill by the very organisations he legitimately challenged in the international courts on behalf of the country and sport he loved," Mr Picardo said.
“Michael Llamas has once again put Gibraltar on the map and raised the profile and prestige of the GFA in doing so.”
“It is sweet irony for all of Gibraltar that he now represents Europe – that is, UEFA - on this important and prestigious FIFA Ethics Committee.”
“Apart from being huge recognition at a personal level for the legal work Michael did to make the GFA a member of these football organisations, his appointment so soon after he litigated against these very entities is also testament to his strength of character and the diplomatic skills he has displayed in the establishment of interpersonal relationships within those same organisations after membership was won.”
“It is also a great vindication for the GFA and its Chief Executive's own handling of both UEFA and FIFA membership and the relationships within the international footballing world.”
Mr Llamas was chosen along with other candidates following a thorough consultation process involving FIFA and the six federations.
He sits on the Investigatory Chamber alongside highly distinguished lawyers and judges from around the world, including chairperson María Claudia Rojas, a former president of the Council of State at the Supreme Administrative Court in Colombia; deputy chairs Canadian barrister Bruno de Vita and Martin Ngoga, the former Prosecutor General in Rwanda; and fellow members from China, Kenya, Honduras and Vanuatu.
“The decision on the final list of candidates was then agreed to unanimously by the FIFA Council,” FIFA said.
“These individuals have been chosen because they are recognised, high-profile experts in their respective fields.”
“Moreover, they better reflect the geographic and gender diversity that must be a part of an international organisation like FIFA.”
The appointment of the committee members as a whole was put the vote at the congress yesterday, with 188 FIFA members voting Yes and only six voting against.