Aleksander Čeferin

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Aleksander Čeferin
Aleksander Čeferin 2017.jpg
Čeferin in January 2017
7th President of UEFA
Assumed office
14 September 2016
Preceded byMichel Platini
Ángel María Villar (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1967-10-13) 13 October 1967 (age 54)
Ljubljana, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia (now Slovenia)
NationalitySlovenian
Parent(s)
Alma materUniversity of Ljubljana
OccupationLawyer

Aleksander Čeferin (born 13 October 1967) is a Slovenian lawyer and football administrator. Between 2011 and 2016, he was President of the Football Association of Slovenia. Since 14 September 2016, he has been the president of UEFA.[1]

Career[edit]

After graduating from Ljubljana University's law faculty, Čeferin went to work for his family's law firm, developing a special interest in representing professional athletes and sports clubs. He later took over from his father as company director.[2] His brother Rok is currently Vice President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia,[3] to which he was initially elected as a judge in 2019. His sister Petra is an architect and a professor in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Ljubljana. [4]

Administrative roles[edit]

In 2005, Čeferin took a formal interest in local football through his work with the executive board of futsal club FC Litija. A member of the executive committee of amateur side FC Ljubljana Lawyers since 2005, he served as a member at NK Olimpija Ljubljana from 2006 to 2011.[5] In 2011, Čeferin was elected President of the Football Association of Slovenia.[6] He also served as a second and third vice-chairman of the UEFA Legal Committee from 2011 to 2016.[7]

UEFA presidency[edit]

On 14 September 2016, Čeferin was elected the seventh President of UEFA, automatically becoming a vice-president of FIFA in the process.[8] He polled 42 votes at the UEFA Congress in Athens, beating Dutchman Michael van Praag, who received 13 votes.[9][7] Čeferin's presidential manifesto and campaign centred on the need for UEFA to adopt good governance reforms and his proposals were approved in April 2017 by the 41st Ordinary UEFA Congress in Helsinki. These reforms included the introduction of term limits for UEFA presidents and UEFA Executive Committee members and the provision that Executive Committee candidates must hold an active office (president, vice-president, general secretary, or CEO) with their national association.[10][11]

One of Čeferin's initial priorities was to work on ways to improve competitive balance in European football and to reduce the gap between the elite clubs and the rest.[12] A series of meetings were held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon with key stakeholders to align on a strategy and to explore options available.[13] Čeferin pledged to strengthen the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR) measures put in place in 2009,[14][15] and supervised amendments to the regulations for the new competition cycle 2018–21.[16] Thanks to the FFPR, European clubs reported €600 million in profits in 2017, compared to the €1,700 million combined losses in 2011.[17]

Other statutory changes approved at the congress in Helsinki included the strengthening of the UEFA Governance and Compliance Committee with two additional independent members,[18] and the granting of two full member positions on the UEFA Executive Committee to representatives of the European Club Association (ECA).[19] A representative of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) was later also added to the UEFA Executive Committee in February 2018 at the 42nd Ordinary UEFA Congress in Bratislava.[20]

As part of his objective to consolidate communication and collaboration with key football stakeholders, Čeferin worked to strengthen ties with members of the European Parliament,[21] the Council of Europe,[22] and the European Commission.[23] Investment in grassroots and women's association football has also been at the core of Čeferin's mandate.[24] While record grants for the development of football were announced at the 42nd UEFA Ordinary Congress in February 2018, UEFA also pledged to increase the funding of women's football development projects by 50% in October 2018.[25] He also oversaw the signing of UEFA's first-ever sponsorship deal dedicated entirely to women's football in December 2018.[26]

On 7 February 2019, Čeferin was re-elected by acclamation for a new four-year term at the 43rd Ordinary UEFA Congress in Rome.[27] During his acceptance speech, he reinforced a message of unity to ensure that "European football remains united, that European football remains respectful, respectable and respected, and that European football continues to demonstrate solidarity and bring hope."[28] When the 2019–20 football season was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UEFA was still able to conclude all of its senior club competitions under the stewardship of Čeferin, as final-eight tournaments were successfully held for the Champions League, Europa League, and Women's Champions League in Portugal, Germany, and Spain, respectively.[29]

Čeferin always refused the creation of an independent Super League and guaranteed it would never happen on his watch, which led to clashes with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.[30][31] On 19 April 2021, after the European Super League proposal was publicised, Čeferin threatened potential sanctions on the participating members in a press conference in Montreux.[32] On 20 April, Čeferin urged the owners and presidents of the breakaway clubs, especially the English ones, to change their minds.[33] In his speech at the Ordinary 45th UEFA Congress, he said: "Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake. Some will say it is greed, others disdain, arrogance, flippancy or complete ignorance of England's football culture. It does not matter. What does matter is that there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes."[34] Following Čeferin's appeal and a number of public protests by football fans in the United Kingdom, most clubs involved in the Super League turned their backs on the project, as it collapsed three days after it had been announced.[35]

On 24 November 2021, the European Parliament voted to oppose breakaway sports competitions after the aborted Super League project. MEPs said they wanted European sporting culture "to be aligned with EU values of solidarity, sustainability, inclusiveness for all, open competition, sporting merit, and fairness". The European Parliament said breakaway competitions undermine EU values and "endanger the stability of the overall sports ecosystem". [1][2]

Philanthropy[edit]

Čeferin was elected chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children in November 2017, taking over from former European Commission president José Manuel Barroso.[36] The UEFA Foundation for Children supports humanitarian projects around the world linked to children's rights in areas such as health, education and integration.[37]

Also in November 2017, Čeferin joined the football-led charity movement Common Goal, pledging to give 1% of his salary to the organization's charity projects. About the movement, Čeferin said: "I firmly believe that football has the power to change the world and I was inspired by Juan Mata to join the Common Goal movement. I call upon everyone in the football family – players, coaches, clubs and leagues – to show they care about social responsibility and donate to causes that they believe in."[38]

In March of 2022, the members of the board of trustees of the UEFA Foundation for Children and its chairman, Aleksander Čeferin, allocated the 2022 UEFA Foundation Award of €1 million to help children in Ukraine as well as child refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of the war which erupted in the region.[39]

Honours[edit]

In 2016, Čeferin was voted sports personality of the year by the Slovenian sports newspaper Ekipa SN. This was the ninth edition of the award, which is voted on by newspaper journalists and readers.[40] In January 2019, SportsPro Media included Čeferin in the exclusive list of most influential people in the sports industry.[41] He was also selected as one of the people of the year by World Soccer in its first issue of 2019.[42]

In September of 2021, Čeferin was named “2021 Best Executive” by the World Football Summit (WFS) Awards, "in recognition of his exemplary leadership in combating the European Super League and delivering a hugely successful UEFA Euro 2020 tournament in the midst of a global pandemic”.[43] The WFS Awards judges acknowledged Čeferin’s inspiring management role whilst UEFA faced a uniquely testing time for the organisation and the football world as a whole.[44]

Čeferin’s frontline role in defeating the so-called European Super League and opposing a biennial World Cup was formally recognised in November 2021 when he was included on Politico’s prestigious annual list of the most influential people in Europe. [45]

In January of 2022, Slovenian newspaper Delo declared UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin the Person of the Year for 2021 for “suppressing in a swift action the plan of the richest clubs to establish a super-league and thus destroy the European model of sport”. [46]

Personal life[edit]

Čeferin is married to his wife Barbara and is a father of three girls. He is fluent in Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, Italian, and English.[7] He grew up supporting Hajduk Split.[47] Čeferin is a 4th Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate. He is also a motorsport aficionado and has crossed the Sahara Desert five times, four by car and once by motorcycle.[48] As a teenager, Čeferin served in the Yugoslav People's Army in 1986 and later served as a Slovenian Territorial Defence soldier in the Slovenian War of Independence in 1991.[49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UEFA President: Aleksander Čeferin". UEFA. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Čeferin Law Firm, Grosuplje, Slovenia". DCS. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. ^ "New President and Vice President of the Constitutional Court – Constitutional Court RS". www.us-rs.si. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  4. ^ arhitekturo, Fakulteta za. "Fakulteta za arhitekturo - Petra Čeferin". Fakulteta za arhitekturo - Petra Čeferin (in Slovenian). Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Aleksander Čeferin". UEFA. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  6. ^ "New president for Football Association of Slovenia". UEFA. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Čeferin elected as UEFA President". UEFA. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  8. ^ "CEFERIN Aleksander". FIFA. October 2016. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Aleksander Ceferin: Uefa elects Slovenia FA chief as new president". BBC. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  10. ^ "UEFA approves term limits for top officials". Reuters. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Green light for reform proposals". UEFA. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  12. ^ "UEFA head Ceferin asks clubs for a fairer Champions League". Washington Times. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Professional Football Strategy Council meets in Nyon". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  14. ^ "'Let us not be afraid' - Aleksander Čeferin". UEFA. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  15. ^ "UEFA chief vows to enforce FFP rules: 'We can't be a tiger without teeth'". UEFA. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  16. ^ "UEFA makes FFP changes". Football Italia. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Comprehensive bidding regulations approved for all finals and final tournaments". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  19. ^ "13th Extraordinary UEFA Congress decisions". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  20. ^ "European Leagues representative joins UEFA Executive Committee". European Leagues. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  21. ^ "European Parliament gives backing to UEFA's policies". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  22. ^ "UEFA and the Council of Europe sign Memorandum of Understanding". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  23. ^ "UEFA and European Commission extend arrangement for cooperation". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  24. ^ "UEFA launches Together #WePlayStrong to inspire more girls to play football". UEFA. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  25. ^ "UEFA increases women's grants". Inside World Football. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  26. ^ "VISA signs seven-year sponsorship deal with UEFA". Reuters. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Ceferin re-elected UEFA President". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Ceferin re-elected for 2nd term as UEFA President until 2023". EFE. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  29. ^ "Organising UEFA club finals in record-breaking time: Portugal". UEFA. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  30. ^ Panja, Tariq; Smith, Rory (22 April 2021). "How the Super League Fell Apart". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  31. ^ Panja, Tariq (20 May 2021). "The Super League Thought It Had a Silent Partner: FIFA". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  32. ^ "UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says those clubs planning a new Super League are 'taking football hostage'". CNN. 19 April 2021.
  33. ^ "How UEFA president Ceferin crushed a Super League rebellion". Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  34. ^ "UEFA president urges Super League owners to reverse decision". Associated Press. Associated Press. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  35. ^ "Super League collapses: How fan reaction, revolt helped end English clubs' breakaway". ESPN. ESPN. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  36. ^ "Ceferin becomes Chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children". UEFA Foundation. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  37. ^ "Our History". UEFA Foundation. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  38. ^ Maylon, Ed (29 November 2017). "Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin joins Juan Mata's Common Goal charity project". The Independent. Archived from the original on 29 November 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  39. ^ "UEFA Foundation for Children awards €1 million to assist Ukrainian children". UEFA Foundation. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  40. ^ "2016 Sports Personality". Ekipa SN. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  41. ^ "SportsPro's 2019 Most Influential". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  42. ^ "World Soccer January 2019". Keir Radnedge/World Soccer. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  43. ^ Summit, World Football (9 September 2021). "UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin named WFS Awards best executive after Super League challenge and Euro 2020 success". World Football Summit. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  44. ^ "UEFA President wins WFS Best Executive award". uefa.com. 9 September 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  45. ^ "Aleksander Čeferin". POLITICO. 8 December 2021. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  46. ^ W3bStudio (6 January 2022). "UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin becomes Delo's Person of 2021". Slovenia Times. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  47. ^ "Ekskluzivni video: prvi čovjek UEFA za sn povodom velikog jubileja otkrio za koji hrvatski klub strastveno navija: 'Nažalost, tamo nešto ne valja...'". Sportske novosti (in Croatian). 8 October 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  48. ^ "Aleksander Ceferin: a black belt in karate who dealt a big blow to the establishment". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  49. ^ "Marcotti's Musings". ESPN. Retrieved 27 February 2019.

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by President of UEFA
2016–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Sporting positions
Preceded by President of
the Football Association of Slovenia

2011–2016
Succeeded by