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Boyce: Award for lovers of football

Britain's FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, who receives an OBE in the New Year Honours, dedicated his award to the people who kept football going in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Boyce, who was severely injured in a Belfast car bomb in 1972, is a former Irish Football Association president and current head of FIFA's referees' committee. He steps down from the vice-presidency in May.

He told Press Association Sport: "It's a tremendous honour and I must pay tribute to my devoted wife Hazel and daughters Joanne and Lisa.

"But most importantly I would like to dedicate this honour to the people who kept football in Northern Ireland going through the many, many difficult years - be they players, officials, coaches or spectators."

Boyce was directly affected by the violence when he was injured by the explosion in 1972. He was off work for a year with a leg in plaster for almost all of that time.

He added: "I view myself as one of the lucky ones. I have always been someone who thought politics and religion should play no part in sport and I am very glad Northern Ireland is now a very different place than it was then."

The Belfast-born 70-year-old receives the OBE for services to football in Northern Ireland.

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