Aleksander Čeferin wins new term as UEFA president

Aleksander Čeferin wins new term as UEFA president
Опубликовано: Wednesday, 05 April 2023 10:11

Slovenian incumbent was the only candidate.


Aleksander Čeferin, president of European football’s governing body UEFA, was reelected unopposed for a third term on Wednesday.

First elected in 2016, Čeferin was chosen by acclamation during the organization’s annual Congress in Lisbon. As with his first reelection in 2019, Čeferin was the only candidate.

A professional lawyer, the 55-year-old Slovenian took over as head of UEFA from France’s Michel Platini, who resigned over a conflict of interest and abuse of power scandal. Platini and then-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter later faced criminal charges in that case in Switzerland, but were eventually both acquitted last July.

Čeferin has proved to be a smooth political operator in the role, cultivating key relationships in Brussels and in national capitals.

UEFA, which organizes the international European Championship and the flagship Champions League, has faced several challenges under Čeferin’s leadership.

In April 2021, the UEFA president saw off an internal mutiny, when some of the biggest football clubs in Europe attempted to create a breakaway Super League, gathering the elite of European football. The project faced widespread backlash from fans and politicians, and collapsed less than two days after it was launched.

But the battle has now moved to the courts, turning into a bitter fight to control European football, as three of the rebel clubs complained to the Court of Justice of the European Union that UEFA’s monopoly on international football competitions in Europe is illegal. The court is expected to issue its final ruling in the coming months. The court’s advocate general came down firmly on UEFA’s side in a nonbinding opinion delivered in December 2022.

Čeferin stood up against plans from world football’s governing body FIFA — whose own president, Gianni Infantino, was also reelected unchallenged last month — to increase the frequency of the men’s World Cup. Čeferin said that having a tournament every two years would have “terrible consequences for football in general.”

But UEFA came under fire over the organization of the Champions League final in Paris last May, when French police teargassed supporters and beat them with batons, prompting Čeferin to apologize after an independent investigation slammed UEFA’s handling of the showpiece fixture.

Ceferin’s third term could be his last, in accordance with a change in UEFA rules made under his presidency in 2017, which introduced a three-term limit for the president and members of its executive committee. But there’s still a chance Čeferin could stay on beyond this term, as debate remains over whether his first term should count toward the limit, as he took over during what should have been Platini’s mandate.

In a 2021 interview with POLITICO, Čeferin stressed the importance of term limits, which he said was his first reform after being elected. “I don’t want to stay 30 years; it’s wrong to stay too long,” he said then. “And, honestly speaking, you need fresh blood, you need people with ideas. After three mandates, you have to do something else.”

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