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Finnish FA president becomes Finland's President

Following his election as President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö has resigned from his position as head of the Football Association of Finland, leaving Markku Lehtola in interim charge.

Sauli Niinistö is the new President of Finland
Sauli Niinistö is the new President of Finland ©JarmoSipilä

The president of the Football Association of Finland (SPL-FBF), Sauli Niinistö, has stepped down from his position after his election as President of the Republic.

Niinistö, a former cabinet minister and speaker of the Finnish parliament, will begin his duties as Finland's President at the beginning of March, but has officially stood down from his role within the SPL-FBF.

According to the Finnish association's rules, vice-president Markku Lehtola will fill the vacant post until the next SPL-FBF general meeting, which will take place in October 2012.

Niinistö was elected as president of the SPL-FBF in October 2009. During his presidency, Finland's senior national team have undergone a rebuilding programme under head coach Mixu Paatelainen, who was appointed in spring 2010. A number of young players have been introduced to the squad, with the aim of achieving a first by reaching the UEFA EURO 2016 finals in France.

Interim president Lehtola has enjoyed a long career in the SPL-FBF, including serving as vice-president for the last six years.