UEFA’s eight members of the FIFA executive committee will hold their own discussions about a common stance on how soon the world federation should elect its new president.
Wolfgang Niersbach, head of the German DFB and a new European delegate to the world federation, has made no secret of his own belief that Sepp Blatter, having announced his impending departure four days after re-election, should depart as soon as possible.
FIFA’s executive committee has planned a special meeting in Zurich on Monday, July 20, when a date will be set for the extraordinary elective congress. December 16 was an early favourite but Blatter himself has suggested January so as to steer clear of the Club World Cup in Japan in mid-December.
Gianni Infantino, UEFA’s general secretary, reiterated the need for an end to uncertainty after the European body’s own executive committee meeting here in Prague ahead of the European under-21 final.
He said: “The roadmap has been set. There is a FIFA executive meeting on July 20 when the date of the congress will be fixed and then we will know more. Obviously the sooner the better.
“The eight UEFA members [of the FIFA exco] will discuss this matter ahead of the meeting and the sooner there is clarity about what will happen the better for FIFA and the better for football.”
David Gill from England is one of the eight; he had insisted last month that he would not take up his FIFA exco seat while Blatter remained president. Gill was absent from the extraordinary FIFA exco meeting the day after congress in Zurich on May 29.
Infantino denied suggestions that UEFA president Michel Platini might have been preparing the ground for a possible FIFA bid in negotiations with the Asian confederation’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
Platini was a guest at the official opening in Lausanne recently of the new headquarters of the Olympic Solidarity movement over which Sheikh Ahmad also presides.
Infantino said: “There are no deals. It’s not a question of making deals. Of course there are discussions and the focus has to be on saving football or FIFA or whatever. It’s important that football organisations are positive and speak to each other; it’s more important than about one person.”
On other issues the UEFA executive committee decided to direct the Champions League Final back to Britain for the third time in six years at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in 2017. Wembley staged the Champions League showdown in both 2011 and 2013.
The Football Association of Wales has never hosted the Champions league Final before and missed out in bidding for Euro 2020 matches but the European federation was impressed by the manner in which it undertook the Supercup between Real Madrid and Sevilla in Cardiff City’s neighbouring home last year.
The 2017 Europa League Final will be played in Stockholm with the Supercup in Skopje (Macedonia).
After UEFA stages its 2016 congress in Budapest subsequent years have been awarded to Helsinki (2017, to mark 110th anniversary of the Finnish FA) and Bratislava (2018, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Slovak FA).
** Norway’s Karen Espelund has been returned as female representative on UEFA executive comittee for a further four-year term.