Factbox on the UEFA presidential candidates
- Author: Lawrence Cooper Sep 14, 2016,
Sep 14, 2016, 0:40
Aleksander Ceferin, a lawyer from Slovenia, and Dutchman Michael van Praag, an experienced football administrator, are the only candidates for a job which will essentially involve keeping European football intact in its current form.
Van Praag said it was wrong to point the finger at UEFA and that the ECA was not run democratically and added: "In the ECA, there are clubs with eight votes, 10 votes, others have three votes, and I know that on the board of the ECA, the big clubs are always in the majority so the mid-size and small clubs never have a chance".
"(I told him) that solidarity is the most important thing that counts in UEFA and that Super League (will be formed) over my dead body".
If elected, the UEFA vice president "would reopen the negotiations" on the Champions League after complaints that England, Germany, Italy and Spain have been guaranteed four group-stage places.
Gianni Infantino, Platini's former number two at UEFA who was elected as the head of world football's governing body FIFA in February, admitted he was "very sad" about the CAS decision after replacing Blatter.
Ceferin is expected to pull in between 30 and 40 votes of the 55 being cast and appears to have significant backing from numerous major nations including Germany, Russia, France and Italy - the Scottish FA confirmed on Tuesday that it intends to support Ceferin.
Van Praag, now head of the Dutch FA, is a former chairman of Dutch club Ajax which used to be a major European power but can no longer compete with the financial might of clubs from bigger leagues.
Kerber, Woz into the semifinals...Djokovic, Monfils advance
Still, there certainly could be an advantage to only having to play a total of 84 games across a tad less than 6½ hours so far. It shouldn't be surprising that injuries would abound in the ninth month of a season that offers little chance for respite.
The former French worldwide, a three-time European Footballer of the Year, is a key figure in the scandal that brought down Federation Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter.
Discussing any Super League, Ceferin says "it will mean war with UEFA".
"UEFA has a duty to act on behalf of the entire game, not just a few, select clubs and leagues and it must take that duty far more seriously if it is not to risk presiding over a harmful fragmentation of the game".
The next European Championship in 2020 will not be hosted in one country, nor co-hosted by neighbouring nations.
Insiders say that the new incumbent, who will be in the post until 2019, will need the courage to stand up to the big clubs if he wants to keep the traditional pyramid system, where teams can rise and fall according to their sporting results.
"I'm not the president so I have no influence on that", he said. We have to work on transparency. I have new ideas.
"Mr Van Praag would provide the strong leadership European football requires", FA vice-chairman David Gill said. "It's obviously a problem for people to understand you can be independent. some people are nervous because I get so much support".