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FIFA mulls delaying presidential election – sources

By Simon Evans

FIFA is discussing delaying the election for their next president following the suspensions given to Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, two sources have told Reuters.

The issue is expected to be on the agenda of an emergency executive committee meeting which could make the decision to postpone the vote, scheduled for Feb 26, the sources, with knowledge of the discussions, said on Friday.

FIFA said on Friday a decision whether to hold an emergency executive meeting would likely be made next week .

A spokesman for England’s Football Association said they would ask FIFA‘s acting general secretary Markus Kattner to organise such a meeting to discuss the election.

UEFA’s 54 member associations are gathering on Thursday at their headquarters in Nyon where the topic of the election will also be on the agenda, the FA spokesman said.

UEFA president Platini was an early favourite to win the vote to replace Blatter at the helm ofFIFA before he was given a 90 day suspension by FIFA‘s Ethics Committee on Thursday. A further 45 days can be added to the provisional ban.

Platini’s ban relates to a 2 million Swiss francs payment he received from FIFA in 2011, which is part of a Swiss criminal inquiry into Blatter.

Switzerland’s Attorney General said Platini is being considered somewhere “between a witness and an accused person” in the case. Both Platini and Blatter deny they have done anything wrong and are appealling the suspensions .

Currently, the election nominations need to be provided by Oct 26 but a change in the date of the vote could see that deadline move.

UNITED FRONT

“For the time being the schedule is as it is,” a FIFA spokesperson told Reuters, adding that only the executive committee had the power to make a decision on the election date.

The FIFA spokesperson did not want to speculate further on the matter.

It remains to be seen whether a majority of the executive committee would back postponing the vote.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said he would prefer to stick with the February date depending on the outcome of the appeals process against the bans.

“My feeling is that the sooner the election takes place the better. If the Ethics Committee has clarity on this situation by the end of December then I think the election should go ahead as planned,” he said.

“But if the extra 45 days is added to the 90 day suspension and it goes on into early 2016 then I think logic would dictate that the election should be postponed to such a time when all the eligible candidates have time to prepare their campaigns without any risk of those campaigns being compromised by any investigation,” he added.

Dutch FA (KNVB) executive director Bert van Oostveen said he was uncertain of the best way forward.

“I’m not sure how to proceed, we’ll have to study the regulations. We are going to sit down after the trip to Kazakhstan and formulate the KNVB position. While we do so, we’ll take a sample of what the other European associations say and (see) whether we can form a united front,” he said.

But Karl-Erik Nilsson, chair of the Swedish Football Association (SvFF), told Reuters the date should not change.

“We want the election to be held on Feb 26 as planned. Together with many European countries, we supported Michel Platini’s candidacy and we need more information about exactly what has happened.

“We said when this story first appeared that it could cause problems, and it is very bad for his candidacy,” he said.

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