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New UEFA chief Ceferin to make Champions League reforms ´first priority´

New UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says he will make a review of the recent Champions League reforms his first priority.

The head of Slovenian football won a landslide victory at Wednesday’s electoral Congress in Athens, gaining 42 votes from a possible 55 to beat rival Michael van Praag to the post.

Representatives of the European Football Professional Leagues’ board criticised UEFA’s decision to alter the competition regulations for the Champions League, which included guaranteeing four group-stage places to the top-ranked leagues – currently the Bundesliga, LaLiga, the Premier League and Serie A.

The EFPL claimed the changes were made without the consensus of the domestic competitions, and Ceferin – speaking after his election – said he is eager to examine the agreement.

“We were not informed properly about the Champions League reforms – I still think so,” he said. “For everything else, I have to sit down with the 55 members and see what is the agreement and what we can do about it.

“Whether I want it or not, I have to deal with it. It’s a priority.”

Ceferin suggested this week that UEFA had cowed to pressure from Europe’s top sides, who he claims made an empty threat to form a breakaway Super League competition if they were not given favourable treatment in the latest reforms.

The 48-year-old is confident a resolution can be reached with clubs and is determined to restore a strong sense of leadership to the organisation, who have been without a permanent leader since the departure of Michel Platini in May.

“UEFA is a very good and strong organisation, without leadership for some time and I think that was a problem dealing with those things,” he said. “We should show we are the ones who are the governing body.

“At the same time we have to speak and have a dialogue with clubs. I think the situation can be resolved.”

Ceferin also hinted at a review of Financial Fair Play regulations, insisting that they “should be enforced better” because “the gap between the rich and poor clubs is a big one”.

Meanwhile, the European Club Association congratulated Ceferin – who runs his own law firm in his native Slovenia – on his appointment as successor to the disgraced Platini, who is appealing a four-year footballing ban issued by FIFA over an alleged improper payment received in 2011.

“The European Club Association congratulates Aleksander Ceferin on his election and looks forward to continuing the constructive collaboration based on mutual respect and unity with Europe’s football governing body under his leadership,” its statement read.

“ECA wishes him all the best for his upcoming challenges in representing the interests of European football at the highest level.”

Wed 14 Sep, 2016
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