Cypriot Koutsokoumnis Among 3 Candidates for Vacant FIFA Council Seat

FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2016 file photo FIFA President Gianni Infantino, right, and Vitaly Mutko, Russia's deputy prime minister in charge of sport, tourism and youth policies. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file)

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA is planning to organize a special election for a FIFA Council place after being left with only three candidates for the four vacant seats available.

European soccer’s governing body originally had five contenders for the vacant positions — which currently earn $300,000 annual payments from FIFA — but now has only three.

Last week, Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko was ruled out because of conflict with his government duties, and former Icelandic soccer association president Geir Thorsteinsson withdrew.

Three candidates will now be elected unopposed on April 5 at the UEFA Congress in Helsinki, Finland, and formally join the FIFA Council in Bahrain in May.

The three, all federation presidents who will join the ruling panel through 2021, are: Sandor Csanyi (Hungary), Dejan Savicevic (Montenegro), and Costakis Koutsokoumnis (Cyprus).

Savicevic was a Champions League-winning player with AC Milan.

UEFA must now find a new date to elect the final official who will complete Europe’s quota of eight seats on the 37-member FIFA Council.

“An Extraordinary UEFA Congress will therefore be organized later this year at a date to be decided in due course,” UEFA said Tuesday in a statement.

While UEFA election rules allow its executive committee to organize a fast-track ballot in exceptional circumstances, FIFA statutes call for a four-month campaign that allows time to vet the eligibility of candidates.

UEFA said Thorsteinsson passed his FIFA eligibility check but pulled out because UEFA wants only active officials in senior elected positions. That policy, supported by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, should be formally adopted next month in Helsinki.