UEFA President AleksanderCeferin Won’t Seek Re-Election In 2027

Feb 8, 2024

Aleksander Ceferin said on Thursday he would not seek a fourth term as UEFA president in 2027 despite approving controversial reforms that would allow him to extend his mandate. “I decided about six months ago that I no longer plan to run in 2027,” the 56-year-old Slovenian lawyer told a news conference after the UEFA congress in Paris. “The reason is that after some time, every organization needs new blood, but mainly because I was away from my family for seven years.” Ceferin also said he was “tired of COVID, tired of two wars” and tired of plans for a rival Super League which he called a “nonsense project”. His surprise announcement came shortly after UEFA member states voted overwhelmingly in favor of a series of law amendments, including a measure that would potentially allow Ceferin to remain in his role until 2031.

“I deliberately did not want to reveal my views at first because, first of all, I wanted to see the true face of some people and I saw it,” said Ceferin, who was first elected in 2016 after the fall of Frenchman Michel Platini.

“I didn't want to influence Congress. I wanted them to make a decision (on the legislation) without knowing what I'm telling you today.”

The main amendment passed does not erase the three-term limit, but stipulates that terms of office begun or served before July 1, 2017 will not be taken into account.

The rule was introduced that year by Ceferin as an anti-corruption measure in the wake of the FIFA scandal. He said the need to change the existing law arose from the fact that it was not properly enforced at the time.

Ceferin was elected unopposed for a third term last April, just weeks after Gianni Infantino was re-elected as president of FIFA, the sport's world governing body.

However his suggestion that he might run for a fourth term, which came up during an executive meeting in December, led to the resignation of UEFA football chief Zvonimir Boban last month.

The former Croatia midfielder, who was part of AC Milan's successful teams in the 1990s, called it a “disastrous idea”.

Ceferin launched a scathing attack on Boban, previously a close ally, criticizing his “narcissistic whining” and “pathetic whining about morality”.

The proposal easily received the two-thirds majority required during Thursday's vote, with England the only dissenting voice among the 55 member states. Ukraine remained absent.

– 'Strength in Unity' –

Ceferin hit back at claims that his organisation, which had to fight the threat of a breakaway Super League, was collapsing under his leadership.

He said, “I have read that UEFA is divided, UEFA is fractured beyond repair. I hope that, I am perhaps naive, those who claim so are now a little embarrassed after this vote.”

Among a number of other statute changes voted for as part of a block of measures, which the English FA also opposed, was a proposal to guarantee greater female representation on UEFA's ruling executive committee.

The age limit of 70 years for all the members of that committee was also cancelled.

Twenty-six European countries signed a joint declaration on Thursday expressing their opposition to the Super League, although Spain was notably absent from that list.

Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are still publicly linked to the project, which sent shock waves through the sport when its 12 biggest clubs announced they had signed up for the competition in April 2021.

However, within 48 hours nine of the 12 rebel clubs – including six from the English Premier League – withdrew and the project collapsed.

Ceferin took another dig at the people behind the Super League while addressing Congress, comparing it to “Snow White's poisoned apple”.

“Unity is strength and unity is the only thing that can save us,” Ceferin said.

“Today, some people, driven by an insatiable desire to generate ever-increasing profits for the privileged few, are trying to divide us in the name of the free market.

“I know some supporters are critical about us, about FIFA, which is normal. There is a lot of anti-establishment and anti-establishment sentiment.

“But we take it head on. Because we know what we stand for. We stand for an ideal; a delicate balance between opposing interests. And there's a price to be paid.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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