MADRID: Angel Maria Villar has confirmed his bid for the presidency of European federation UEFA in a brief statement on the website of the Spanish federation which he had led for 25 years.
Villar is the third candidate ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for declarations between whom Europe’s national associations will vote at an extraordinary congress in Athens on September 14.
The others are Dutch federation president Michael Van Praag and Slovenia’s Aleksander Ceferin who claims signficant support from eastern and nordic Europe.
Villar is the senior vice-president of UEFA, chaired its spring congress in the absence of suspended Michel Platini, and handed over the cups at the finals of the recent European Championship and Champions and Europa League finals.
However, rather than being considered a man for the future the notoriously media-shy Villar is a member of the ‘old guard’ whose command of both world federation FIFA and UEFA has been marked by years of scandal.
Villar himself was rapped over the knuckles by the FIFA ethics committee for his reluctance to co-operate with its inquiry into the 2018-2022 World Cup bid scandal. Spain and Portgal had staged a joint bid for 2018 but their hopes unravelled after the failure of a vote-exchange deal with Qatar.
Back in Spain Villar has come under fire from domestic presidential rival Jorge Perez who says that the former Bilbao and Spain midfielder owes his position of power to a long-running system of patronage.
Perez said: “They have woven a patronage system for many years. They have done many good things but that model is exhausted. Now I want people to vote without fear of reprisal.”
Another rival to Villar in Spain, Miguel Angel Galan, has accused him of electoral manipulation and breaking Spanish sports law.
Galan has claimed that Villar has delayed the electoral process deliberately, contravened a ministerial order and thus should be barred from public office.