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Tributes to David Taylor, 1954-2014

John McBeth, the former president of the Scottish Football Association, led the tributes to the late David Taylor last night by describing him as a man who never allowed the politics of football to dampen his basic love of the game.

Taylor died yesterday at the age of 60 in Glasgow. According to Herald Sport sources, he was flown back to Scotland after falling ill on a trip to Istanbul.

He had collapsed three years ago due to a blockage in the major arteries of his heart while playing a football match at the home of European football's governing body UEFA, where he had spells as general secretary and executive director, and had to be revived through the use of a defibrillator.

Taylor had recently been working for a company called CAA Eleven, which had been appointed by UEFA as the exclusive agent managing the centralised commercial rights of competitions involving national teams, such as Euro 2016 and qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

Born in Forfar and trained as a solicitor, he was an avid member of the Tartan Army before joining the SFA as its first chief executive in 1999 and led a failed bid to stage the 2008 European Championship finals with Ireland before leaving for UEFA in 2007.

"He was with me at the Scottish FA until leaving to go to UEFA and was a real stalwart and a good football man," said McBeth.

"He was a nice man who loved football. He followed Scotland as a supporter before coming into Hampden and did his best for the game.

"His weakness, perhaps, was that he liked playing football and always maintained that love for the sport. It might have been better if he had been more cynical.

"It is sad to lose a good guy from football when it has so many rascals around it. I am still in a bit of shock. I will say a prayer for him and his family.

"When he moved to his new commercial role in Switzerland, I thought it would be better for him. He would be under constant pressure as the general secretary of UEFA and I felt that would allow him to stay out of the spotlight a little. I feel for his family as he has gone at a quite a young age."

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