Van Praag wants to become UEFA President

KNVB Media
KNVB Media
18 mei 2016, 13:28

Michael van Praag wants to finish Michel Platini’s term. - Foto: KNVB Media

Chairman of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) Michael van Praag has just informed his colleagues on the UEFA Executive Committee that he would like to be nominated for the UEFA presidency. He would like to finish the remaining two and a half years of Platini’s term and then make way for a widely supported new president.

“What UEFA needs right now is someone who can build bridges. I want to put my experience, network and knowledge to good use to restore unity at UEFA over the next two and a half years,” says Van Praag in his initial reaction. “At an administrative level, European football has been in some sort of impasse for the past eight months. I want this to end, to then pave the way for a new, younger president.”

The UEFA Executive Committee decided today that elections for the presidency would be held on 14 September 2016. The deadline for nominations is 20 July. Nominations only become official once UEFA has received the nominations of all the European associations, including the KNVB, that it has invited to nominate candidates. Until then, the nominations are provisional.

Why a presidency for two and a half years?

“That’s the remaining period of Michel Platini’s term and the period of time I think I need to help things settle down at UEFA. What’s more, I can pave the way for a new president in those two and a half years. It’s like I said back when I was nominated for the FIFA presidency: I believe that football is ready for a new generation of leaders. Nothing has been done in the past eight months however, and a new president will need at least a year to settle in. We can’t do that to ourselves, which is why I’d be happy to start straightaway. The advantage with me is that I already know the chairmen of all the associations and can work well with them.”

What could we expect of UEFA with Van Praag at the helm?

“It would be a very bold move if I were to announce a whole host of major changes. But the truth is that, given the position UEFA is currently in, the role I see for myself is completely different. Right now, UEFA needs continuity, stability, believability and leadership. UEFA already has enough other challenges. For instance, the threat of clubs wanting to start their own competition, the structure of club competitions, human rights, discrimination, and the huge changes in the commercial marketing of football. And then there’s how UEFA can better support the national associations. After two and a half years, everything will only be about football again at UEFA. That’s what you can expect of me. If I become an official candidate I will be able to share more about my plans for UEFA with the other associations and any stakeholders.”

Michael van Praag gave this initial reaction from Basel, where the UEFA Executive Committee was meeting today. He will be available to speak to the media in Basel and also answer questions by phone where possible. As he is abroad for the coming period, it will unfortunately not be possible to fulfil all media requests at this time.

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