Albanian FA’s clash with Tirana city officials intensifies

February 10, 2022 GMT

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The Albanian soccer federation’s clash with city officials in the capital Tirana ahead of its presidential election intensified on Thursday ahead of a visit of UEFA monitors next week.

The Tirana city hall announced that a district court had approved a request to restructure the regional soccer association to revoke the voting rights of is current leadership — which is backed by the national federation — and register a new leader instead.

The city hall had claimed that the established association leadership had manipulated its voting process.

The federation responded by saying it does not recognize such a newly-registered association, adding that UEFA observers would visit Tirana next week.

UEFA will send an “assessment mission” to evaluate the electoral process of the Albanian soccer federation before clubs vote on a president next month. Armand Duka, who has been federation president since 2002, is seeking a sixth four-year term but Tirana’s city hall has accused him of corruption.

Albania has eight different regional associations who serve under the national federation and are eligible to vote in the election. City officials play an active role in Tirana’s regional association.

The decision by UEFA to send observers to monitor the election was the result of talks between Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and Duka amid fears of government interference.

The three-person delegation will travel to the capital city of Tirana on Feb. 14-16. The election for federation president is March 2.

Ceferin said he had agreed with Rama “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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