January 6 – UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin looks set for a third term as UEFA president after the deadline passed yesterday for any challengers to come forward for the April 5 election at the UEFA congress in Lisbon, Portugal.
Čeferin was first elected UEFA president in 2016, beating the Netherlands’ Michael van Praag to the post. He was elected unchallenged for a second term in 2019.
It is his second term that has been the most challenging, not just because of the issues that disrupted football with the covid pandemic but also due to the challenges from within football that would have changed the world balance of football and UEFA’s position and strength as a key support pillar of that balance.
Having navigated UEFA’s way through covid calendar disruption, Čeferin was immediately catapulted into leading the challenge in defeating the so-called European Super League and opposing a biennial World Cup. Both projects were a direct assault on UEFA’s commercial revenue streams as well as the European football eco-system.
Čeferin galvanised support within his European federations and from outside bodies and stakeholders to fight the battles with a united front, and with a focus on what he said was a football system that had to benefit the whole of football and not just the bank balances and financial ambitions of an elite few.
Those battles have been generally fought, but the war is not completely over as both FIFA and a group of Europe’s clubs still covet UEFA’s commercial revenues, and such is their ambition that there will inevitably be further raiding parties formed. Čeferin’s united membership clearly still see him as the person to lead them through what are changing times.
UEFA positions at FIFA
While Čeferin will not have any challengers for his presidency, within UEFA there will be elections for FIFA Council positions.
Hungary’s Sándor Csányi is up for re-election for the FIFA vice-presidency but is being challenged by Finland’s Ari Lahti.
There is also a challenge to Northern Ireland’s David Martin, from England’s new chair Debbie Hewitt, for the FIFA Vice-President position reserved for the four British associations.
France’s Noel Le Graet is also facing competition for his position on the FIFA Council from Portugal’s Fernando Gomes.
All three positions are for four-year terms.
Germany’s Bernd Neuendorf is the only candidate for the two-year term position on FIFA’s Council.
All the candidates are now being vetted for eligibility by FIFA’s Review Committee.
UEFA will also be voting for eight members for its Executive Committee for four-year terms (one member to be elected for a two-year term). The deadline for individuals to submit their candidatures is Sunday 5 February, said UEFA.
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