Northern Ireland

Chris Lyttle to join the IFA as head of public affairs

Former Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle
Former Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle Former Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle

FORMER Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has been appointed as the Irish Football Association's first head of public affairs.

Mr Lyttle served as MLA for East Belfast from 2010 until 2022.

He announced last year he would not stand in the assembly election but would help the party with its campaigning.

Mr Lyttle will take up his new role next month.

A qualified UEFA B Licence football coach, Mr Lyttle said joining the IFA was an "exciting privilege".

"Football, from grassroots to the men's, women's and disability national teams, is transforming Northern Ireland for the better," Mr Lyttle said.

"The game is contributing to better physical and mental health, improved educational outcomes and a shared and safer community, and with the support and partnership of government and business can achieve even more.

"There are exciting opportunities that a restored Northern Ireland Executive must grasp particularly for women and girls by supporting the Northern Ireland team at the Women’s Euros next month and delivering the long overdue football stadia funding that will help clubs across Northern Ireland to be community hubs and support our bid to host Euro 2028 games in Northern Ireland."

After Mr Lyttle announced his departure from politics last year, Alliance leader Naomi Long said he had been a "wonderful" MLA and a "committed and loyal friend to myself and us all in east Belfast".

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "Chris's government experience and football credentials make him the perfect fit for this new role.

"I am confident he will help us further our links with key groups and individuals from our political stakeholders both here in Northern Ireland and further afield, too.

"He will join an experienced and welcoming staff team who will ensure he hits the ground running."