UEFA Re-elects Aleksander Ceferin as President till 2027  

April 5, 2023
Aleksander Ceferin

By Adedapo Adesanya

The president of the Union of European Football Association (UEFA), Mr Aleksander Ceferin, has been re-elected unopposed for a third term at a meeting of European football’s governing body in Lisbon on Wednesday.

The 55-year-old Slovenian lawyer, first elected in 2016 following the downfall of Frenchman Michel Platini, will remain in the role until 2027.

“I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unanimous support. It really means a lot to me,” Mr Ceferin told delegates at the UEFA Congress in the Portuguese capital.

“It is a great honour, but mainly it is a great, great responsibility towards you and towards football,” he enthused.

The UEFA Congress came just a few weeks after Mr Gianni Infantino was re-elected as president of the sport’s world governing body, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), also unopposed.

Mr Ceferin recently successfully opposed proposals by Infantino to hold the World Cup every two years, and his re-election by acclamation comes after he also fought off the breakaway European Super League project during his second term.

He will now oversee the introduction of a new format for the Champions League starting next year.

He will also face threats of the establishment of the Super League, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus continuing to pursue the project.

A lawsuit has been launched against UEFA and FIFA at the European Court of Justice, accusing the governing bodies of abusing their power by threatening to expel clubs and players interested in joining a breakaway league.

A final ruling is expected in the coming weeks, although the court’s advocate general, whose opinions are often followed by judges, provided a first ruling favourable to UEFA in December.

The new Champions League format will be introduced from the 2024/25 season, with the number of clubs involved in the group stage increasing from 32 to 36 teams, all playing in one pool using what is known as the Swiss system.

The new format will see all participants play eight matches against eight different opponents, a change from the current where the group stage is divided into eight sections of four teams playing each other home and away.

While he seeks to calm tensions with Infantino, who also addressed the meeting in Lisbon, Mr Ceferin will in addition be able to focus on pursuing the planned introduction of new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Clubs will be forced to limit spending on player and staff wages, transfers and agents fees to 70 per cent of total revenues by 2025/26.

Mr Ceferin has also raised the possibility of relaxing rules that currently prevent clubs with the same owners from facing each other in European competitions.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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