UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin will not seek re-election

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Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has announced his decision not to run for re-election in 2027.

This decision follows a Uefa vote to modify its regulations, which would have permitted the 56-year-old Slovenian to seek reelection and potentially remain in charge of European football’s governing body until 2031.

During a Uefa congress in Paris, the English Football Association (FA) stood alone in opposition to the rule amendment. The FA advocated for a limit of “maximum” three terms, each lasting four years.

Previously, the regulations allowed a president to serve three terms in office. However, the new ruling stipulates that Ceferin’s initial term, when he assumed the presidency in 2016 following Michel Platini’s departure part-way through a four-year cycle, does not constitute a complete term served.

Ceferin assumed office after Platini’s resignation in May 2016, prompted by a ban imposed by the world governing body FIFA due to ethics violations.

Despite a substantial two-thirds majority with 49 nations voting in favor of passing the motion, Ceferin later declared he would not run for reelection in 2027.

Ceferin told a news conference: “I decided six months ago that I would not run any more. The reason is that after some time every organisation needs fresh blood, but mainly because I was away from my family for seven years now.

“I intentionally didn’t want to disclose my thoughts before, because firstly, I wanted to see the real face of some people and I saw it.”

Opponents of the motion – including FA chief executive Mark Bullingham – argued the change goes against the pledge Ceferin made to preside over cleaner corporate governance of Uefa when he took over from Platini.

Uefa general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said Ceferin’s decision not to tell the national associations of his plans beforehand was not an embarrassment for the FA.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “We have a democracy.”

The decision is viewed as contentious, and Zvonimir Boban, the technical director of Uefa, resigned from his position in January in protest at Ceferin’s alleged plan to serve a further term, describing the change as “beyond comprehension.”

After announcing his decision, Ceferin replied, calling Boban’s position a “pathetic cry” and claiming Boban was known he would not run for reelection.

“He could not wait because after my disclosure, his whining would not make sense,” Ceferin added.

Bullingham, along with delegates from Norway and Iceland, had voted against the plan to “bundle” them together. Other statutory amendments included the obligation to have at least two female members on the Uefa executive committee.

The FA claims that although it had supported the other proposed modifications to the statute, it was compelled to vote against them all when the move to bundle them together was approved.

“We requested and voted for the statute changes to be tabled separately, but this was not supported by a sufficient majority and we respect that,” said an FA spokesperson.

“We believe that it was always intended that a principle of three terms of four years should be a maximum period for any Uefa exco member to serve.”