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By ESPN Staff
Feb 8, 2007

SFA's Taylor favourite to become new UEFA chief

LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - David Taylor, the head of the Scottish Football Association, has emerged as the favourite to succeed Lars-Christer Olsson as chief executive of UEFA, European soccer's governing body.

UEFA sources told Reuters on Thursday his appointment will be announced shortly. It is the highest administrative position in UEFA and one of the most important roles in world soccer.

Olsson left his post last week after three years following the election of Michel Platini as the new UEFA president at the governing body's Congress in Duesseldorf on Jan. 26.

Platini has made no secret he intends to act as more of an executive president rather than follow the more laissez-faire approach of his predecessor Lennart Johansson.

'We expect an announcement within the next 48 hours with David Taylor taking up the roles as chief executive and Platini becoming an executive president,' a senior UEFA source told Reuters on the basis of anonymity.

Another source close to Taylor and Platini also confirmed this was the plan.

'We expect a name to be put forward at Friday's executive committee meeting and, yes, a chief executive is the role,' the source said.

Platini made no secret of his intention to take a hands-on approach, similar to that of his close ally FIFA president Sepp Blatter, when he replaced Johansson, who was voted out of office after 17 years as president two weeks ago.

This meant Olsson - a close ally and Swedish compatriot of Johansson - had no option but to leave.

'Platini seems to have made the phone calls before Friday's meeting and looks to have the support for these changes from the executive,' a source said.

Taylor, who is steering a proposal to expand the European Championship from 16 to 24 teams, looks set to be rewarded by Platini for his public backing for the former French international during the election race.

A lawyer by profession, Taylor joined the Scottish FA as chief executive in 1999 and is widely respected within the UEFA system. He is a member of the organisation's Control and Disciplinary Body.

If he does get the job as expected it will be the second major political victory for Scotland this week.

On Monday John McBeth, the chairman of the Scottish FA, was elected as a FIFA vice-president for the British associations and will take his place on the executive committee in May when the incumbent David Will retires.