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Candidates thin on the ground for UEFA top job

Michel Platini’s resignation on Monday has left a vacancy at the top of UEFA. But with Gianni Infantino now in charge of FIFA and leading candidates suffering from tarnished reputations, the options look a little sparse.

With Michel Platini announcing he will resign as president following his failed appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, UEFA must begin the search for a new president, though it is not expected that the new man will be in place before their showpiece event, Euro 2016, in June.

Platini held the position for nine years but will resign after his ban from the game for receiving a “disloyal” payment from then FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2011 was

upheld but reduced to four years from six.

The man many believed would be Platini’s successor, Gianni Infantino, took over from Blatter, also banned from the game, at FIFA earlier this year, leaving something of a dilemma for the European organization.

Of the obvious presidential candidates, Spain's Angel Maria Villar Llona is seen as a member of the old guard while German Wolfgang Niersbach is tainted by the the 2006 World Cup affair.

That leaves just Michael van Praag as a clear contender. However, even if he were to assume power, the Dutch federation president is seen merely as a transitional president, not just because he would only see out Platini's term until 2019, but because he is 68 years old.

UEFA’s executive committee will meet on May 18 - the date of the Europa League final - to discuss a potential presidential election in September, although they haven’t ruled out the possibility of a fast-tracked candidate taking charge before the Euros start on June 10.

Although it isn’t thought the leadership issue will impact the organization of the month-long tournament, it is currently unclear who will present the trophy to the European champions in Paris on July 10 at the Stade de France.

The organization’s website confirmed "there will be no UEFA president appointed ad interim."

mp/apc (DPA)

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