The Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the European football family are mourning the passing of former SFA secretary Ernest Walker who has died at the age of 82 after a long illness.
After succeeding Willie Allan as secretary in 1977, Walker became a vastly respected football administrator not only at home, but also within FIFA and UEFA. He enjoyed the distinction of watching Scotland compete in five consecutive major championship finals from the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany to the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
George Peat, the current SFA president, paid tribute to Mr Walker, whose knowledge of the game was acknowledged throughout world football. "Ernie was renowned throughout the game as a first-class administrator and a first-class gentleman," he said. "In many ways, Ernie was a visionary who cared deeply about the national game."
Walker enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a UEFA and FIFA official. Within the European governing body, he was chairman of the UEFA Stadia Committee (subsequently the Stadium and Security Committee) from 1990 to 2004, after previously serving as a member from 1988 to 1990, and was involved in decisions that contributed to crucial developments and improvements in stadium installation, security and ticket management issues.
He also operated as a member of the UEFA Board of Appeal (1978-82) and the Committee for the UEFA Club Competitions (1982–92), and as a member of the transfer experts' group (1988-98) and transfer pool (1996-2000). A key contributor to UEFA development work, Walker was a member of the UEFA Development and Assistance Committee (1994-2000), the East European Assistance Bureau Board (1998-2000), and the Panel for Technical and Administrative Assistance (1990-2000) in addition to various expert and advisory bodies.
"I was very sad to hear the news," said UEFA Honorary President Lennart Johansson, who worked together with Walker for many years while serving as UEFA President. "I admired him. He was straightforward in whatever he did, and you knew what he thought about things. Everybody respected him, he was used as an expert all over Europe, and he had knowledge. He brought his ideas to all of us.
"Ernie was a man that everyone listened to," added Mr Johansson. "And I was favoured by coming in close contact with him whenever I had need of his experience and advice. He was the main expert within UEFA when it came to judge the quality of a stadium [in terms of] public capacity, security matters, media treatment and so on. And in this role, he became important for a lot of us."
Walker received the UEFA Order of Merit in Diamond in 2002, and the UEFA President's Award in 2004 for his special contribution to football. He was a member of the Amicale des Anciens circle of former UEFA committee members.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.