MADRID: FIFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar is poised to be re-elected, unopposed, for a further four years at the head of the Spanish football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The 61-year-old former Bilbao and Spain midfielder, was elected first in 1988 when he scored a clear 34-vote win over Eduardo Herrera. This means he has been in command for 24 years, since before some of the new members of the world and European title-winning national team were born.
The federation’s annual general meeting will be held on January 27 with the result of presidential elections confirmed the following February 16 when Villar would start his seventh term in office.
Villar, who holds a number of senior positions in both FIFA and UEFA, is often underrated by outsiders despite having astutely balanced between the different centres of power within the Spanish game represented by Barcelona, by Real Madrid and by the rest.
Within FIFA, he has proved a loyal supporter of Sepp Blatter. At FIFA Congress in Zurich last June Villar made a characteristically personal, if rambling, speech in support of the world federation’s controversial and under-fire president.
Villar, born on January 21, 1950, scored three goals in 22 appearances for Spain in the 1970s. He also scored 11 goals in 361 games for Athletic Bilbao, his only senior club, with whom he won the Spanish cup in 1973 and was UEFA runner-up in 1977.
In 1978 he was one of the founders of the Spanish players’ union. Three years later he retired and rose swiftly up the administrative and political ladder. He was elected president of the Vizcaya football association and then of the Spanish federation a mere seven years after having retired from playing.
Villar has been a vice-president of UEFA since 1992 and of FIFA since 2000. Supporters have suggested he could be a leading candidate to take over at the head of the European federation if current president Michel Platini decides, in 2015, to pursue the FIFA presidency.
** Ted Howard has been confirmed by CONCACAF as acting general secretary while the Central and North American confederation seeks a permanent successor to Chuck Blazer who stepped down at Christmas.