Villar withdraws from UEFA presidency race


Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) boss Angel Maria Villar has pulled out of the race to become the next UEFA president.

Villar had been in a three-way race to replace the suspended Michel Platini, who is serving a four-year ban from all football-related activities for ethics violations.

However, the 66-year-old Villar announced his withdrawal on Tuesday, leaving Slovenian Aleksandar Ceferin and Dutchman Michael van Praag to vie for the role, with a decision to be made at the 12th Extraordinary UEFA congress in Athens, Greece on September 14.

In a statement, Villar said: "I submitted my candidature for the UEFA presidency with an ambitious programme focused on making football the main focus of our organisation. While I have received a great amount of support since then to continue my campaign, after a profound reflection I have decided to withdraw my bid.

"There have been many representatives of Spanish football who have made their voices heard and asked me to continue working for my country's football by submitting a new bid in the next months for my reelection as president of RFEF, to whom I have dedicated most of my life as an official. 

"I believe that UEFA, as the organisation that unites all European football, is in a position to reach great goals in the future.

"I want to finish by wishing the two candidates the best of luck and thanking all of those who have supported me during all of this time, and reassert my commitment to continue working for European and worldwide football from my positions as a vice-president of the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee."