UEFA Confirms Election Monitoring Delegation to Visit Tirana

UEFA has announced it will send a delegation to monitor the upcoming election of the Albanian football federation that will see clubs vote on a new member in March.

The news comes after weeks of public spats between current President Armand Dako and Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj, a bomb attack on Dako’s house, and trading of accusations over corruption, influence, and crime.

The football body said the assessment mission has come following discussions with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, UEFA’s President Aleksander Ceferin and Duka.

A three-person delegation will arrive in Tirana on 14 February and remain for two days while the election is scheduled to take place on 2 March.

Ceferin said that following his visit to Tirana last week, he was no longer concerned about political interference and that he had decided with Rama “there will be no governmental interference, that football will decide about football and that’s what we want.”

Two weeks ago, a FSHF spokesperson denounced Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj, accusing him of pressuring assembly members ahead of a vote to elect the head of the regional football association of Tirana. An audio recording was published which features Veliaj using foul language and pressuring those in attendance.

Tirana Visit Eases UEFA Fears of Interference in Football Elections

Meanwhile, Veliaj himself had accused FSHF president Armand Duka of corruption and vote rigging as Duka prepares to run for a sixth consecutive 4-year term in March. While Albanian prosecutors have launched an investigation into FSHF over a €1.3 million fund provided by UEFA, there have been no investigation into Duka’s conduct so far.

Shortly after the spat between Veliaj and Duka began, a device exploded outside Duka’s home with no injuries. Police arrested a person from the area as a suspect.