Slovenian FA head Aleksander Ceferin has been confirmed as UEFA’s new president at the European football governing body’s Extraordinary congress in Athens, Greece, today. Ceferin triumphed by a margin of 42 votes to 13 over Netherlands FA president Michael van Praag.
At a meeting in Budapest in August, the ‘Visegrad Seven’, a smaller working group of FAs from seven countries including Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Hungary, concluded that Mr Ceferin would be a wholly appropriate choice as president and therefore pledged their support to the Slovenian sport administrator in advance of today’s election.
“Happily, Aleksander Ceferin, a wholly suitable leader who can open a new period in this organisation’s life, has moved to the front of UEFA”, said Hungarian FA President Sándor Csányi. “The Hungarian Federation’s expectation is that with his work he will create a maintainable balance and unity with the involvement of European football’s participants and bearing in mind the interests of the member countries. It is important that Hungary, before anything else and as a representative of the smaller countries, brings to the forefront the question of the cases of support of young talent and women’s football”.
UEFA’s new president followed Mr Csányi by saying: “I thank everyone who stood behind me and supported me. I’d especially like to thank my family’s and Slovenia’s support – I know that all of them are proud of me and I honestly trust that one day you will be too”. It should be emphasised that MLSZ held it as important that as well as his preparedness as a leader, the prospective president would be capable of leading the organisation for a sizeable length of time.
Regarding the strategic tasks lying in front of European football’s governing body, MLSZ sees it as necessary that UEFA’s new president endeavours to preserve and nurture the sport’s professional standard and its societal and financial significance, to strengthen working relationships and the transparency of UEFA’s operations and to support the member associations with their work to an increased extent.
The aforementioned Budapest meeting of the Visegrad Seven saw the participants agree that in the interest of football’s global development it is necessary to strengthen the competitiveness and representation of interests of the small countries, particularly in the fields of women!s football, youth development and talent nurture. Along with this consensus they also wish to support the work of the new UEFA president as well.
Due to Michel Platini’s resignation from the post, Aleksander Ceferin’s first period of office will be shorter than a usual term, it running until March 2019.
Aleksander Ceferin was born in Ljubljana in 1967, becoming a qualified lawyer there before moving from his family business to become a sports lawyer. It was through futal that in 2005 he found an official connection with football and in 2011 he was elected President of the Slovenian Football Association, becoming a member of UEFA’s legal committee in the same year. He is fluent in English and Italian and is father to three children.
At today’s congress in Athens it was also decided that Evelina Christillin will be UEFA’s female member and represent the organisation on FIFA’s advisory body. The advisory body must be comprised of at least one female representative from each of the world’s six continental associations.
Source: MLSZ – Press release