Lit­tle-known lawyer elected pres­i­dent

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

UEFA yes­ter­day over­whelm­ingly elected Slove­nian lawyer Alek­sander Ce­ferin, al­most un­known three months ago, as its new pres­i­dent to lead the world’s most pow­er­ful foot­ball con­fed­er­a­tion into a new era af­ter Michel Pla­tini was forced to re­sign.

Ce­ferin, 48, beat Dutch foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion chief Michael van Praag by 42 votes to 13 in the first round of vot­ing af­ter promis­ing “bold” moves and an end to “in­trigues” as the 55-mem­ber Euro­pean body faces chal­lenges over its flag­ship Champions League.

“The wind of change is blow­ing through Euro­pean foot­ball. It is the end of one era and the start of a new one,” Ce­ferin said in a speech to a spe­cial congress in Athens shortly af­ter Pla­tini gave a farewell ad­dress and left through a side door.

Ce­ferin high­lighted the cred­i­bil­ity chal­lenges fac­ing scan­dal-tainted foot­ball, along with reg­u­lar ac­cu­sa­tions of match-fix­ing and dop­ing.

But he told a spe­cial congress in Athens, “I am not here to em­pha­sise the neg­a­tiv­i­tites that sur­round us. I don’t want to live in an em­pire of fear where ev­ery day we wake and see another neg­a­tiv­ity sur­fac­ing.

“I want to bring out all the good things UEFA has been do­ing and you have been do­ing.”

He added, “We are all tired of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and look for­ward to a nor­mal­i­sa­tion pe­riod that will be about pos­i­tive things, about friend­ship, about foot­ball.”

Ce­ferin said that UEFA had to be a leader in good gov­er­nance and trans­parency.

“We should stop with pol­i­tics, plots, in­trigues, lack of trans­parency, self in­ter­est – it is foot­ball first. It is what I prom­ise to all of you to­day, noth­ing more noth­ing less.”

On top of the ab­sence of Pla­tini since Oc­to­ber, af­ter he was sus­pended over a US$2 mil­lion pay­ment from FIFA, UEFA has also faced dis­quiet over changes to the Champions League and spec­u­la­tion that ma­jor clubs could break away to form their own tour­na­ment. –

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