UEFA wants new president by Euros if Platini gets FIFA job

Author: the associated press

ST. JULIAN’S, Malta (AP) – UEFA wants a new president elected before the European Championship if Michel Platini replaces Sepp Blatter at FIFA.

The UEFA president is the favorite in the Feb. 26 election to replace Blatter, who is prematurely quitting against a backdrop of escalating corruption scandals.

Euro 2016 kicks off on June 10 in Platini’s homeland of France and UEFA rules currently require three months between the deadline to apply for the presidency and the election itself.

Shortening the three-month election period would require the approval of all 54 UEFA members, who meet Feb. 25 – the day before the FIFA election. UEFA could then push back its annual congress, which is scheduled for March 23 in Budapest, to allow a new president to be elected.

“We discussed it must be done before the kickoff of the European Championship or, the best way, is before the final of the cup competitions,” UEFA executive committee member Frantisek Laurinec told The Associated Press after a meeting in Malta on Thursday.

The Champions League and Europa League finals are in the second half of May.

“We need three months by the statues (for the election) but the extraordinary congress can say ‘in this special case, maybe we will shorten this period because everybody knows what is going on,'” Laurinec said. “If congress agrees we can suspend this article and decide in this case it can be shorter.”

Wolfgang Niersbach, who heads the German federation (DFB) and sits on the FIFA and UEFA executive committees, is tipped to stand for the top European job if Platini moves to run the world game.

Niersbach is avoiding declaring his candidacy for a position which is not vacant yet.

“I warn against assuming that everything is going Michel Platini’s way,” Niersbach said. “He is the clear favorite and enjoys our support, the support of DFB and all of Europe, but it’s still a long way.”

Platini was first elected UEFA president in 2007 and won a third, four-year term earlier this year. The former France great has pledged not to stand again in 2019 if he loses in the FIFA presidential poll.

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