UEFA, European football's governing body is to elect a successor to banned former President Michel Platini in September. Michael van Praag has become the first to declare his candidacy for the post.
UEFA announced following a meeting of its Executive Committee in Basel on Wednesday that the new president would be elected at an Extraordinary UEFA Congress to be held on September 14 in Athens. In a statement posted on its website, the Congress would also elect the UEFA's female member of the FIFA Council. It said interested parties had until July 20 to submit the paperwork to become candidates.
The head of the Dutch federation, Michael van Praag, lost no time in declaring his intention to stand for president.
"He wants to finish the remainder of Platini's two-and-a-half-year term and then step down to make space for a new, broadly supported chairman," a statement issued by the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said.
"UEFA at the moment needs a bridge-builder. I want to use my experience, network and knowledge to turn it into a cohesive unit again," the 68-year-old former FIFA presidential candidate said in the statement. He added that he wanted to "steer UEFA into calmer waters... and pave the way for a new president".
The head of the Spanish FA, Angel Maria Villar, is also widely expected to run for president.
UEFA has been without a president since Platini resigned following a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to uphold a ban from football-related activities imposed on him by FIFA's Ethics Committee last year. This was over a disloyal payment of two million Swiss francs (two million euros) that he received from banned former FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 2011. However, the CAS reduced Platini's ban from six to four years.
The new president is to complete Platini's term, which runs until March 2019.
pfd/jh (AFP, dpa, AP)