By Andrew Warshaw in Geneva
September 20 – UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has challenged European governments to help bring about greater competitive balance within the game, not least allowing salary caps which has long been close to the Slovenian’s heart.
Ceferin used his address to UEFA’s extraordinary Congress today to highlight a list of changes he would like to see in European football, acknowledging that many of them can’t be done without government legislation.
“It has become clear that competitive balance is our number one priority,” Ceferin told delegates. “We will not be afraid to take firm, bold action to right the wrongs. We must protect the magic of football before it’s too late but we must be allowed to do so.
“I have heard some very prominent politicians such as the German chancellor Angela Merkel condemning financial developments in football and calling for greater sporting balance. To all the European politicians let me say that we cannot agree more. But I cannot say you have done much to help us set things straight so far.”
Ceferin says he awaits “the green light from those who publicly condemn the current situation but have yet to enable us to put it right.”
“If European and national legislation were to allow it,” he said, UEFA could introduce “a whole arsenal of concrete measures to make the game fairer and better regulated.”
These, he said, could include salary caps, a luxury tax, squad limits, transfer reform, a clearing house to control money flows, restrictions on commissions paid to agents, a solidarity tax on transfers to fund amateur and women’s football soccer, and banning ownership of two or more clubs.
One year and six days into his UEFA presidency, Ceferin appeared to take a veiled dig at the regime of his predecessor Michel Platini by adding: “This is a time of harmony. We are a team once again. Everyone has found their place. It is by supporting each other that we can correct errors of the past and re-establish equilibrium that is so indispensable.”
“My and our actions speak louder than words. We have made great progress. We have revised our statutes to impose term limits and give more authority to holders of active offices within own associations. We have put in place bidding procedures for all competitions. This may seem normal and even trivial but it is a serious measure that has taken UEFA another step away from politicking.”
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