Jim Boyce, Britain’s FIFA vice-president, said he and football had lost a “trusted friend” following the death on Tuesday night of Dr Malcolm Brodie, MBE.
“It’s always important to have a good relationship with the football media and I am very fortunate to say I have certainly enjoyed that,” he said.
“But Malcolm Brodie was a total one-off. A very, very dear friend and the most outstanding professional, I watched him inspire and educate generations of journalists.
“Whenever I am abroad, I can guarantee people will want to talk about Malcolm with me.
“Now, of course, it will be sharing memories of the great man, but throughout my career in football at all levels, he commanded respect. Both Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter regularly asks me about him, and Sepp was in touch with Malcolm before Christmas, to wish him the best of the season.
“I had the true honour of presenting Malcolm with the FIFA Golden Ball, in recognition of his incredible commitment and service to journalism. I will never forget it, as it was such a wonderfully proud moment.
“I am just absolutely devastated. I was very distressed when I heard the news and it’s still hard to believe Malcolm is no longer with us.
“My sincerest thoughts are with his wife Margaret and their family, and my wife Hazel and I send our very deepest sympathies.”
Former Northern Ireland international Jim Magilton said: “Malcolm Brodie was a great man who I respected an incredible amount.
“He would ring during both the good and the bad times throughout my career and I have so much admiration for him.
“I always have done - he has been an ever-present and it is devastating to think he is no longer with us.
“He was the first to congratulate me when I made my international debut for Northern Ireland. He will be deeply sadly missed.”