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Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 10:20 UK

Football mourns the death of Will

David Will
Will was an influential figure at the top of world football for many years

Former Scottish Football Association president and Fifa vice-president David Will has died of cancer, aged 72.

Will rose from being chairman of Brechin City to spend nearly two decades with world football's governing body and was made a CBE in 2002.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said: "David was a giant of the game.

"He was one of the most humble yet influential figures in the game and he played his part in taking football around the world."

During his time at Fifa, Will was famously highly critical of president Sepp Blatter during an investigation into the organisation's finances.

He stood down as a vice-president in 2007 but retained an honorary position and recently backed the decision of the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh FAs not to become involved in a united British team to play in the London Olympics.

Smith said his ally would be sadly missed at home and abroad.

David was an inspiration to us all at Glebe Park

Brechin City chairman Ken Ferguson

"This news has absolutely devastated everyone here at the Scottish FA and, I am sure, throughout the football world," said the SFA chief executive.

"His knowledge and love for football saw him rise from a small town club to the vice-presidency of Fifa.

"All of our thoughts and prayers are with David's family and friends at this terrible time.

"We have lost a friend today - and football has lost one of its most committed and talented sons."

Despite their differences, Blatter paid tribute to Will in a letter to the SFA.

"Thanks to his wisdom, diplomacy and integrity, David made an extraordinary contribution to our game in his life," said the Fifa president.

"His great warmth, kindness and humour made him an extremely popular figure who will live long in the memory of all who had the good fortune to meet him."

Will joined Fifa's executive committee in 1990 as the representative for the four home nations, but his hometown club remained close to his heart.

Second Division Brechin's chairman, Ken Ferguson, said: "David was an inspiration to us all at Glebe Park.

"Whilst he reached the heights of world football, he kept his feet firmly on the ground and, no matter where he was in the world, he always checked in at 4.45pm on match days to find out how the game had gone.

"David's love of his family and of the game was evident for all to see.

"He was the most humble of people who could deal with any situation that would arise.

"The club and the town could not have wished for a better ambassador. He will be sorely missed."

The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League have been asked to hold a minute's silence at matches over the weekend.

Meanwhile, former Scottish FA secretary Ernie Walker and former Scotland manager Andy Roxburgh also paid tribute to Will.

Walker said: "David Will was quite simply the best ambassador abroad that Scottish football ever had.

"He was an outstanding legislator and a man of the highest moral principles. On a personal level, he was my best friend for 40 years."

Roxburgh, now technical director with European governing body Uefa, added: "He was an intelligent and passionate man who represented Scotland with great distinction in his role as a football official on the world stage.

"Like many here at UEFA, my thoughts today are with his wife Margaret, and his two daughters."

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