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UEFA delegates arrive in Albania to assess election process

February 14, 2022 GMT

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — A UEFA delegation has arrived in Albania to evaluate the electoral process of the national soccer federation before clubs vote on a president next month, amid concerns about political interference.

A federation statement on Monday said the three-member delegation visited its headquarters to get more information about the election and recent incidents it said was “caused by the flagrant political intervention.”

Albanian Football Federation President Armand Duka is seeking re-election for a sixth four year term on March 2, even though Tirana city hall officials have accused him of corruption.

Last week the Tirana city hall said a district court approved its request to restructure the regional soccer association to revoke the voting results of its current leadership — which is backed by the national federation — and register a new leader instead, claiming manipulation of the voting process by the established association leadership.

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The federation responded by saying it does not recognize such a newly registered association.

During their three-day stay, the UEFA officials will also meet with representatives of the eight regional soccer associations who are eligible to vote in the election, before preparing a report for UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and the national soccer federation.

The “assessment mission” was the result of talks earlier this month between Rama, Ceferin and Duka.

After meeting with Rama in Tirana, Ceferin said he had agreed with the prime minister “that there will be no governmental interference, that football will decide about football and that’s what we want.”

The UEFA president also committed to staging the inaugural final of the third-tier Europa Conference League in Tirana on May 25.

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