Ceferin shrugs off Boban departure saying Congress will decide if UEFA has term limits

January 29 – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insists the organisation is united and democratic despite last week’s surprise resignation of Director of Football Zvonimir Boban.

Boban, previously one the most influential members of Ceferin’s inner circle, stepped down in opposition to a change in the statutes that would let Ceferin stay in office as president longer than the current rules permit, possibly until 2031.

Boban voiced his disapproval of the proposed amendment, accusing the Slovenian of pursuing “personal aspirations” and an autocratic agenda.

But in a hard-hitting interview with The Guardian newspaper, Ceferin rejected such accusations.

“His departure hasn’t caused any significant disruptions, let alone shock waves, within UEFA or the European football community, even if it was unexpected,” Ceferin said.

“It’s a gross misstatement to suggest UEFA is fragmented beyond repair. Congress and not an individual holds the authority to determine the appropriateness of any changes. We trust in our collective, democratic decision-making process to guide us forward effectively.”

Explaining the narrative around the statute changes, Ceferin, a lawyer by profession, added: “There is a legal question and a factual question. The legal question: in 2017 we had a congress and I proposed term limits, which came into the statutes.

“But the wording was so unclear that de facto we didn’t have term limits, because after every change of the statutes any previously served terms wouldn’t count. I did not know that at the time. So in 2018 our administration changed the wording to link it to the existing statutes every time.

“But that was done without the approval of congress, which is obligatory, and without approval from any other UEFA organ, which makes the provision invalid. We are doing that to clarify this provision and if we don’t then there would be no limit and I could run for ever.”

Despite apparent unity within the membership, Ceferin is nevertheless clearly riled at what he claimed were misleading media briefings.

“There is this clown from one of the federations who calls other federations and media daily, whining: ‘This is a conspiracy,’ without saying anything to me or to Uefa leadership,” he declared without naming the individual concerned.

“We’ve been informed by other federations about his behaviour and they’re laughing at him and his actions. Nobody asked me about it and I’m glad I can explain. To clarify unequivocally: whether the proposed changes are implemented or not, this will not impact my or any other executive committee member’s eligibility to run for another term.”

“This change doesn’t mean anything. But it was presented like ‘wow’, and I became Kim Jong-Un from North Korea. It’s not like that.”

“The factual question is: do I want to run again in 2027? I will inform the media when the time comes. To be honest, I’m so tired after everything we’ve been through in recent years that I’m not sure. But if it’s not changed, we don’t have term limits. This is very simple.”

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1713608799labto1713608799ofdlr1713608799owedi1713608799sni@w1713608799ahsra1713608799w.wer1713608799dna1713608799