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Soccer-UEFA chief Johansson may apply for re-election

Written by: Staff

STOCKHOLM, Apr 26 (Reuters) UEFA president Lennart Johansson may run for another four-year term when his presidency expires next year, the 76-year-old said today.

''Nobody has applied as a candidate...and those who have shown interest don't have the competence it demands, so I am considering it,'' he told Sweden's SVT public TV channel.

''I am being subjected to a persuasion campaign, and if the situation remains the same I am ready to run for it. I would rather continue then have someone else ruin everything.'' The Swede has ruled European soccer's governing body since 1990 and has already been re-elected three times.

Johansson had previously said he would not run again and expressed the hope that Germany's former World Cup-winning captain Franz Beckenbauer, the president of his country's World Cup organising committee, would succeed him.

The fact that Johansson is now mulling over standing for re-election again indicates that he does not favour former France captain and later coach Michel Platini for the job.

While Beckenbauer has expressed interest in running for the position, Platini is the only man to have actually declared his intention to be a candidate, which he did in March 2005.

In January, the 60-year-old Beckenbauer said he would only bid for the top UEFA post if Johansson decided not to run while a year ago when the German first showed an interest in the job he added that he was ready to run against Platini.

Platini, on the other hand, said he did not like the idea of running against the former Germany coach, adding that he thought Beckenbauer should have bid for the job a decade earlier.

Johansson has overseen a series of huge changes in the game including the creation of the Champions League and the adoption of the Bosman Ruling in 1995.

He stood for the presidency of FIFA in 1998, losing the election to then-FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter.

Reuters SHB DB2257

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