(ATR) Slovenian FA president Aleksander Ceferin has joined the UEFA presidential race.
Launching his bid in Moscow, the 48-year-old claims to have the support of 18 of UEFA’s 55 member federations.
Dutch FA chief Michael van Praag has already thrown his hat into the ring to replace Michel Platini, who was banned by FIFA last month for four years for receiving a "disloyal" $2m payment from disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2011 for consultancy work done nearly a decade earlier.
Spanish FA president Angel Maria Villar, a UEFA and FIFA vice president, is another mulling a bid for the top job in European football. The deadline for candidatures is July 20.
The presidential election takes place in Athens on Sept. 14. The victor will finish Platini’s term – he was only re-elected last year – until 2019.
Ceferin appears to have a strong platform of support to build on. The Slovenian FA said Ceferin has the backing of Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey, plus Slovenia. Also said to be behind his bid are the federations from Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, Reuters reports.
Ceferin is expected to outline his manifesto in the coming days.
The Russian Football Union moved quickly to support his candidacy.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who also heads the RFU, said the group of Southeast European football associations, founded last year, had discussed the UEFA presidential election and whose candidacy should be supported.
"Almost all participating countries, including Russia, endorsed the candidacy of the Football Association of Slovenia’s president," Mutko was quoted by Russian news agency TASS.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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