NYON, Switzerland – UEFA is ready to run a fast-track presidential election to replace Michel Platini if he fails to overturn his six-year ban.
With the Court of Arbitration for Sport aiming to give Platini an appeal verdict in May, UEFA could call an election meeting before June 10, when the European Championship kicks off in Paris.
“It is possible after we have the decision from CAS,” UEFA legal director Alasdair Bell said Friday, adding that current rules requiring a three-month election campaign “can be shortened.”
The UEFA executive committee confirmed Friday that no potential election process would begin until Platini’s legal challenge at CAS is completed.
Platini’s appeal against his six-year ban for conflict of interest — taking a $2 million payment from FIFA approved by then-president Sepp Blatter in 2011 — was filed this week at the sports court in Lausanne, Switzerland.
CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb told The Associated Press this week that a two-month timetable was realistic for the case.
Whenever there is a decision we can immediately hold an executive committee meeting and go to an accelerated process for the election.”
— Theodore Theodoridis. UEFA-appointed interim general secretary.
UEFA has been without an elected leader since Platini was provisionally suspended from duty by FIFA last October.
The perception of a leadership vacuum has seen top European clubs lobby publicly for changes to the Champions League format and finances favoring elite clubs.
Theodore Theodoridis was appointed by the UEFA as the interim general secretary on Friday.
— UEFA (@UEFA) March 4, 2016
A top priority for UEFA this year is consulting clubs and agreeing on any changes before starting to sell broadcasting and sponsor rights for the 2018-21 commercial cycle.
“We are not very much worried but it is a very big challenge for us, definitely,” Theodoridis said, when asked if clubs were seeking to exploit uncertainty at UEFA.
Theodoridis was promoted to replace his former boss, Gianni Infantino, who was elected FIFA president last week after a four-month campaign.
The Greek official joined UEFA in 2008 with special responsibility for relations with member federations, and was Infantino’s deputy since 2010.
UEFA holds its annual congress on May 3 in Budapest, Hungary, where Kosovo’s application for membership will be decided.
Kosovo, if approved as UEFA’s 55th member, could yet be included in the 2018 World Cup qualifying program that kicks off in September.
Theodoridis said UEFA would ask the FIFA executive committee meeting on March 17-18 in Zurich to prepare paperwork that would accept Kosovo as a member of the world body. FIFA has its annual congress on May 13 in Mexico City.
“Yes, they (Kosovo) can play the qualifiers of the World Cup” in theory, Theodoridis said. “But there are two ‘ifs.’”
Also Friday, UEFA advanced plans to introduce goal-line technology in its competitions. It will operate at the Champions League and Europa League finals in May.