UEFA President to be elected in Athens

UEFA's 55 member associations will elect the body's seventh president at an Extraordinary Congress on Wednesday. Aleksander Čeferin and Michael van Praag are the two candidates.

The Ordinary UEFA Congress in Budapest in May
The Ordinary UEFA Congress in Budapest in May ©Getty Images

UEFA's seventh president will be elected by Europe's national football associations at the 12th Extraordinary UEFA Congress at the Grand Resort Lagonissi Hotel in Athens, Greece, on Wednesday.

Two candidates are standing for election – Aleksander Čeferin (Slovenia) and Michael van Praag (Netherlands), who are both presidents of their respective national associations.

The new president will follow Ebbe Schwartz (Denmark), Gustav Wiederkehr (Switzerland), Artemio Franchi (Italy), Jacques Georges (France), Lennart Johansson (Sweden) and Michel Platini (France), who have all served at the helm of European football since UEFA's founding in June 1954.

In addition, an election will take place in Athens for a UEFA female position on the FIFA Council. Evelina Christillin (Italy) is the only candidate.

Aleksander Čeferin
Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 13 October 1967. A graduate of Ljubljana University's law faculty, he went on to work for his family's law firm, and developed a special interest in representing professional athletes and sports clubs. He later took over the role of company director.

He first took a formal interest in local football in 2005 through his work with the executive board of KMN Svea Lesna Litija, one of Slovenia's most successful futsal clubs. A member of the executive committee of amateur side FC Ljubljana Lawyers since 2005, he served as a member at NK Olimpija Ljubljana from 2006-11.

A married father of three, fluent in English and Italian, Čeferin was elected as Football Association of Slovenia (NZS) president in 2011. He has also served as a second and third vice-chairman of the UEFA Legal Committee since 2011. 

Michael van Praag
Born in Amsterdam on 28 September 1947, Van Praag's father Jaap served as AFC Ajax president from 1964 to 1978, during which time the club won three successive European Champion Clubs' Cups, in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

He followed in his father's footsteps, serving as Ajax president from 1989 to 2003, with the club winning a UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League under his leadership. Van Praag succeeded the late Mathieu Sprengers as president of the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) in 2008. He was elected to the UEFA Executive Committee in 2009, and became a UEFA vice-president in 2015.

The married father of one has served within UEFA as chairman of the Stadium and Security Committee and Club Competitions Committee, and as deputy chairman of the Club Licensing Committee and HatTrick Committee.

Evelina Christillin
Born in Turin on 27 November 1955. A graduate in history, she worked at the Fiat press office from 1978 to 1985 – where she was in charge of coverage for sports events (car races and rallies) and foreign press – before teaching history and sports history at the faculty of education and training sciences of the University of Turin.

A former athlete – she was a member of the Italian national women's Alpine skiing team – Evelina Christillin was involved in the 100th anniversary of Juventus, curating the dedicated exhibition and accompanying catalogue. She is currently president of the Italian national tourist agency, ENIT.

She was involved in the organisation of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin as executive president of the successful bid committee, and also served as vice-president of the Torino Organising Committee (TOROC). From 2001 to 2005, Christillin was a member of the national board of CONI, the Italian National Olympic Committee, and covered similar board roles for cultural, commercial and social responsibility projects.

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