UEFA ELECTIONS

UEFA presidency: Van Praag to run to replace disgraced Platini

"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," said the Dutchman.

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UEFA presidency: Van Praag to run to replace disgraced Platini
FABRICE COFFRINI AFP

Dutch football chief Michael van Praag announced on Wednesday that he will run as a candidate to replace disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini, the first to officially throw his hat into the ring to take over the helm of European football.

"He wants to finish the remainder of Platini's two-and-half year term and then step down to make space for a new, broadly supported chairman," the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said in a statement from its headquarters in central Netherlands.

"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," Van Praag said in the statement.

Speaking from Basel where UEFA was meeting, the 68-year-old KNVB chairman said he "wanted to steer UEFA into calmer waters... and pave the way for a new president".

"UEFA needs continuity, stability, credibility and leadership. That's what you can expect of me."

Last year Van Praag made an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the FIFA presidency.

The deadline for submissions for the coveted UEFA post is 20 July, with Platini's successor to be elected in Athens on 14 September.

Platini is still listed as UEFA president on the body's official website despite 'resigning' from his post after a sports tribunal rejected his final appeal against his ban from football over a suspect $2.0 million payment he received from FIFA.

Spanish football chief Ángel María Villar, who will hand out the trophies to the winners of the Europa League later on Wednesday and the Champions League on 28 May, is also reported to be in the running, along with Portugal FA chief Fernando Gomes.

Reports in recent days have suggested that Aleksander Ceferin, the president of the Slovenia Football Federation (NZS), could also enter the race.