UEFA executives to meet May 18 to discuss presidency

The UEFA executive committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on May 18 to discuss a presidential election if suspended Michel Platini loses his appeal against a six-year ban from football at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

German member Wolfgang Niersbach said on Monday after a meeting of the executive committee of Europe's ruling football body ahead of its congress in Budapest that the meeting will take place in Basel, Switzerland ahead of the Europa League final set for the same day.

The UEFA president Platini was suspended in October and later banned, for first eight and then six years, in connection with a disloyal payment of 2 million dollars he received from former FIFA boss Joseph Blatter in 2011 for FIFA work done a decade earlier.

Platini appealed the FIFA verdict at the CAS and a hearing was conducted Friday. A CAS ruling is expected by May 9 at the latest.

It remains unclear whether UEFA could elect a new president ahead of the June 10 start in France of its showcase tournament, the European championships.

But UEFA's acting general secretary Theodore Theodoridis of Greece said recently a fast-track presidential election would be possible.

Niersbach said: "I think an election ahead of the Euro is unlikely but we have seen over the last six months in football that a lot is possible."

Niersbach was referring to the bans of Platini and Blatter, and the election of former UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino as FIFA president in February.

UEFA still lists Platini as president and has not appointed an acting president because it wanted to allow Platini to exhaust all legal means.

Niersbach defended this stance, saying: "It wouldn't have been fair towards Michel Platini. That's why no formal proceedings for an election were started either."

Infantino would have been the natural candidate, while now Dutch federation president Michael van Praag is considered the frontrunner.

Spain's Angel Maria Villar Llona, who presides over meetings as senior vice-president in Platini's absence, is seen as a man of the old guard, while Niersbach himself is out of favour after having to quit as German football supremo over the World Cup 2006 affair which is probed by FIFA and prosecutors in Germany.

Niersbach also said the leadership issue will not affect the running of Euro 2016 which takes place in nine French cities until July 10.

"The Euro will take place, with or without an elected president in office. The Euro has been excellently prepared by the (UEFA) administration and the French federation," he said.

The executive committee also looked ahead Monday when it decided on the bid proceedings for the 2024 tournament. Bids have to be declared by March 2017 and the host is elected in September 2018.

Germany, which staged the event in 1988, are considered frotrunners but the 2006 affair could dent their chances.

Also expected is a joint northern European bid from Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

The 2024 event comes after the 2020 edition which is held as a pan-European tournament in 13 countries, with the semi-finals and final to take place in London at Wembley.

Last update: Mon, 02/05/2016 - 20:34

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