Slovenian Football Association boss Aleksander Ceferin has formally entered the race to replace Michel Platini as president of European football's governing body UEFA.
As first revealed by the Press Association last month, Ceferin has been canvassing support throughout Europe over the last few weeks and is now backed by 22 of the 55 member associations, making him the favourite to win the vote in September.
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Thirteen of those countries were confirmed at a meeting of football associations from south-east Europe that was hosted by Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko in Moscow. This follows recent statements of support from Scandinavia and Italy.
Speaking from the Russian capital, the 48-year Ceferin said: "Getting support from our neighbours is very good and very encouraging, but I don't just want to speak for one region.
"So I was really pleased to hear that the Scandinavians and Italians have come out for me and I want to speak to the others too.
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"I don't like it when it is north against south, or east versus west. I will speak to everybody."
A practising lawyer, Ceferin became president of the Slovenian FA (NZS) in 2011, having served on the board of Olimpija Ljubljana, one of Slovenia's biggest clubs, since 2006.
His stock has been rising in European football circles in recent years and he is viewed as a consensus-builder who has no connection to the various scandals that have dogged football politics for years.
Mutko, who is also president of the Russian Football Union, is the latest heavyweight to get behind Ceferin's candidacy, joining all the ex-Yugoslav republics, the Balkans, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.
The support of Greece would seem to suggest UEFA's acting general secretary Theodore Theodoridis will not be running, leaving veteran duo Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and Spanish football chief Angel Maria Villar as his most likely rivals.
Ceferin said it was too early to talk about his ideas for the job but said UEFA "is a good organisation that perhaps needs to freshen up a little".
Candidates for the presidency must declare their hands by July 20 and the election will be in Athens on September 14.
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