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  • UEFA President Sets Out Vision for European Football


    (ATR) Aleksander Čeferin promises UEFA will “undertake some major developments” to tackle the “complex challenges” ahead after his re-election as head of European football’s governing body.

    UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin (Getty Images)
    Unopposed for the UEFA presidency, he was elected by the acclamation of delegates from Europe’s 55 football associations at the governing body’s 43rd annual congress in Rome.

    The 51-year old Slovenian, elected to the post in September 2016, will serve a four-year term.

    Vowing to build on recent successes and developments in European football, including the launch of the continent’s Nations League, he said: "The most dangerous thing we could do is to rest on our laurels and bask in our current situation.

    "In a world of constant and increasingly rapid change… we are going to have to do more than simply adapt. We are going to have to think ahead and undertake some major developments.

    Čeferin said women's football would be taken to a new level thanks to the UEFA Women's European Championships in England in 2021.

    He said UEFA’s new strategy for the 2019–24 period would address the challenges ahead, including refining the financial fair play system that aims to reduce the gulf between Europe’s richest and poorest clubs.

    "We will adapt the financial fair play rules to establish a new European balance in which everyone can find their rightful place," he said. "The initial objectives of financial fair play have been achieved. European clubs are financially healthier than ever, the problem of debt has been sorted out in many countries, and unpaid debts owed to clubs, coaches and players seem to be becoming nothing more than a bad memory.

    "Now it is time to move to the second phase of this major European project, in consultation with the ECA [European Club Association], so that every European club can exploit its full development potential."

    Delivering a successful Euro 2020 tournament in 12 cities next summer is one of UEFA’s biggest projects, along with designing new club competitions and making the European game more accessible to global fans on digital platforms are among the challenges facing the UEFA president in his second term in office.

    Labeled Together for the Future of Football, UEFA’s 2019-2024 strategy is based on four pillars – football, trust, competitiveness and prosperity – and has been drawn up in consultation with European national associations, leagues, clubs and players' representative groups.

    Čeferin sounded a cautionary note about the work ahead, saying European football stakeholders and fans should not “expect any miracles”.

    “Anyone who claims they can change the course of history simply by waving a magic wand is either a dreamer or a charlatan,” he added. "How can we perform miracles in a society racked with doubt, where an inward-looking attitude seems to be the only way to survive? Where the desire to put up walls is stronger than the desire to build bridges, and where helping yourself has become more important than helping others?

    "What I can promise is that, during this next term of office, we will work together 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,” he said.

    The UEFA president also pledged to work in a spirit of collaboration with FIFA in the coming years. This will be aided by European football’s newly-elected representatives on the FIFA Council.

    Fernando Gomes of Portugal and Georgios Koumas of Cyprus will serve two-year terms. Germany’s Reinhard Grindel was officially re-elected for a four-year term. English FA chief Greg Clarke was elected as a FIFA vice-president, while Hungary’s Sándor Csányi returns as a FIFA vice-president for a four-year term.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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