KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: UEFA must now rush into gear to find a new president after the seven-month leadership vacuum created by the initial provision suspension of Michel Platini last October.

Ever since then the European federation had granted him the consideration of innocence until and unless proven guilty.

That had meant continuing without a leader, an issue exacerbated when UEFA’s own general secretary, Gianni Infantino, was elected as world federation FIFA’s president in February.

The timing was awkward. The leadership vacuum has played perfectly into the hands of the elite clubs. They have been busily sabre-rattling with resurrected talk of a superleague and a Champions League revamp to regain all their old command and access and an even larger share of the revenues.

Later this year UEFA must decide on the settlement for the next three-year organisational and financial deal for 2018-21. The clubs are marching all over the battlefield, largely unchecked.

Hence UEFA’s executive committee, on the eve of congress in Budapest last Tuesday, decided to call an extraordinary meeting next week, on the morning of the Europa League Final in Basel, to decide on the next steps if Platini were to lose his appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

An earlier meeting is impossible because many members will be attending FIFA Congress in Mexico City later this week.

The European federation, ideally, would appear to need a president in place for the European Championship finals. In a news conference after congress UEFA’s legal director, Alasdair Bell, confirmed that election rules had been altered last year so that a ballot could be called at short notice.

UEFA confirmed, in a statement after the CAS decision and Platini’s resignation, that the Basel meeting would consider all steps necessary to call an election congress.