UEFA to elect Platini replacement at Congress in September

The date for the UEFA Presidential election was confirmed at an Executive Committee meeting in Basel ©Getty Images

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A replacement for banned former UEFA President Michel Platini will be elected in September at an Extraordinary Congress in Athens, it was announced today.

The meeting, which will shape the future of European football’s governing body, is due to take place on September 13 and 14 in the Greek capital.

The confirmation came following an emergency Executive Committee meeting in Basel ahead of the Europa League final between English Premier League club Liverpool and Spanish La Liga side Sevilla at St. Jakob Park.

Platini, the former French international, who had led European football’s governing body since 2007, was banned for eight years in December following a now infamous “disloyal” payment of CHF2 million (£1.5 million/$2 million/€1.8 million) made to him by Switzerland's former FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 2011.

Having had his suspension cut by two years to six by FIFA’s Appeals Committee in February, Platini then contested the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Lausanne-based court refused to quash his ban completely, instead opting to reduce it to four years to replicate a full Presidential term.

Following the verdict, delivered by the CAS last week ahead of the FIFA Congress in Mexico City, the 60-year-old confirmed he would stand down as UEFA President having exhausted all potential avenues to get his suspension overthrown.

Gianni Infantino, Platini’s former number two at UEFA who was elected as the head of world football’s governing body in February, admitted he was “very sad” about the CAS decision.

Platini’s successor as UEFA President will be just the seventh person to hold the role and they will complete the Frenchman’s term, due to end in 2019.

Several candidates have already emerged for the position, with the winner becoming a FIFA vice-president as well as a member of FIFA’s ruling Council, which replaced the Executive Committee as part of the widespread reform package aimed at hauling the corruption-plagued organisation out of the mire.

Royal Dutch Football Association head Michael van Praag, a candidate for the FIFA Presidency last year before withdrawing ahead of the vote in Zurich, has confirmed his intention to stand for the role.

Acting President Ángel María Villar of Spain and Slovenian Football Federation chief Aleksander Ceferin are both expected to enter the race.

Interim general secretary Theodore Theodoridis may also launch a candidacy to follow in the footsteps of Platini.

A deadline of July 20 has been set for interested officials to declare their intention to run.

UEFA has been without a figurehead since Platini was provisionally suspended in October of last year and the election of a new President will begin a fresh era for the organisation.

“It is not for UEFA to judge the decision of the courts,” Theodoridis said of the Platini verdict.

Theodoridis also confirmed UEFA were looking into whether Platini can attend this year's European Championships in France, due t begin on June 10 and run until July 10.

It has been claimed both Platini and Blatter can attend the tournament but not in an "official" capacity.

They would, therefore, have to go as paying fans rather than in the VIP section.

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