A British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for over 25 years, Lord Brian Mawhinney’s keen interest in politics extended to sport upon his appointment as Chairman of the Football League in 2003.
A year later, Lord Mawhinney oversaw one of the biggest and most successful changes in English football, with the re-organisation of the League structure. The Championship, Football League One and Football League Two replaced the old First, Second and Third divisions respectively – a commercial rebranding which has since placed the EFL’s divisions among the most-watched in Europe.
Lord Wawhinney served as Chairman from January 2003 to March 2010, during which time The Football League embarked upon a substantive programme of governance reforms that included the introduction of football's first Fit and Proper Person's test, Sporting Sanctions for insolvent Clubs, the publications of Clubs' spending on agents' fees and the monitoring of their tax affairs. He also oversaw the formation of The Football League Trust.
In 2012, Mawhinney was awarded a Life Membership by The Board of Directors of The Football League in recognition of the exceptional contribution made during his seven years of service.
Outside of sport, Mawhinney’s journey in the political world started in 1974 when contesting Stockton-on-Tees as a representative for the Conservative Party, although he went on to hold many senior roles within the Government, Cabinet and the House of Lords.
A Member of Parliament for Peterborough for 19 years, Mawhinney also held the same title for North West Cambridgeshire for a further eight years whilst acting as the Minister of State for Health between 1992 and 1994 under Prime Minister, John Major. He also took up the role of Secretary of State for Transport, holding the position for a year.
Following his near 20-year commitment to the Conservative Party, Mawhinney was named as the Chairman and Minister without Portfolio in 1995, before becoming the Shadow Home Secretary and spokesman for home, constitutional and legal affairs.
Mawhinney was awarded a knighthood in 1997 as part of the Dissolution Honours List following the advice of outgoing Prime Minister, John Major.
His significant loss will be felt by all at the EFL, and wider footballing community.