Aleksander Čeferin re-elected UEFA boss
Aleksander Čeferin, a 55-year-old Slovenian lawyer, won another term as president of UEFA, the European governing body of football, at the 47th UEFA congress in Lisbon on 5 April.
Čeferin has been at the helm of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) since 2016 and was the only candidate for the job, so the vote, which was unanimous, was a mere formality.
In his opening address to the delegates of the 55 national football associations in Europe, he pointed to a challenging situation in European football.
He highlighted the growing disparities between the small and the big in football, the rich and the poor, a situation that he sees as a broader social challenge. It is up to all relevant stakeholders to ensure the balance needed for the sustainable development of football, he said.
"We're faced with galloping globalisation, and everything that implies. Benefits and risks as well," he said, adding that it should never be forgotten that football was a public asset, one of the last not to have been privatised yet.
Čeferin reiterated his opposition to the Super League initiative, drawing parallels between the clubs who advocate this and the wolf in the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.
UEFA's model is based on "sporting merit", he said, and the organisation ensures that merit cannot be bought, it can only be earned. "There is no room for cartels on this continent," he added.
He believes domestic leagues must remain the foundation of football and is committed to efforts to develop both men's and women's football.
UEFA should play its part in addressing the challenges of the 21st century, he said as he noted that EURO 2024 in Germany would be the greenest European Championship ever and suggested that maybe it was time to opt for harsher measures in tackling racist, homophobic or sexist insults during UEFA matches.
In his acceptance speech, Čeferin thanked the delegates for their support. "It is a great honour but mainly it is a great responsibility towards ... football," he said. "I will do my best not to disappoint," he added as quoted by UEFA's website.
Čeferin was first elected UEFA president in September 2016 when he replaced Michel Platini, and was then re-elected the first time in 2019. He has now won another four-year term.
During this time he has established himself as a skilled negotiator and man who walks the talk. He is seen as a responsible leader and a factor of trust, still modest despite his rise.
Coming from a well-known family of lawyers, Čeferin previously served as president of the Slovenian Football Association from 2011 to 2016.