Athens: Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin has been elected the seventh president of European football’s ruling body UEFA.
He was elected at the European body’s Extraordinary Congress here on Wednesday.
The 48-year-old Slovenian received 42 votes from UEFA’s member associations, against 13 votes for the other candidate, Michael van Praag (Netherlands), the association’s website said on Wednesday.
Ceferin was appointed president of the Slovenian Football Association in 2011 and has a background in law. He has also served as a second and third vice-chairman of the UEFA Legal Committee since 2011.
In taking the helm of European football, Ceferin follows Ebbe Schwartz (Denmark), Gustav Wiederkehr (Switzerland), Artemio Franchi (Italy), Jacques Georges (France), Lennart Johansson (Sweden) and Michel Platini (France), who have all served as UEFA’s president since the body was founded in 1954.
Ceferin was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on October 13, 1967. A graduate of Ljubljana University’s law faculty, he went on to work for his family’s law firm and developed a special interest in representing professional athletes and sports clubs. He later took over the role of company director.
“My small and beautiful Slovenia is very proud about it and I hope one day you will also be very proud of me,” Ceferin told UEFA delegates after becoming taking the top post, according to ESPNFC.
“Some people may have said that I am not a leader, that I am too young and too inexperienced to become the next UEFA president.”
“It’s not because you repeat again and again, loud and clear ‘I am a leader’ that you are a leader. If you have to do it, you are probably not a leader.”
“You can say that I am young and experienced but I honestly think it disrespectful for all small and medium-sized federations who, 365 days a year, have to do more with less,” he added.
He replaces the banned Platini who was found guilty of ethics violations in December for taking a payment of two million Swiss francs ($2 million) from world football’s governing body FIFA in 2011.
Last week, acting UEFA President Angel Maria Villar withdrew from the contest to succeed Platini on a permanent basis, leaving Ceferin and Dutch Football Association president Van Praag in the race for the role.
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