UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin announced on Thursday that he will not run as a candidate in 2027, one hour after guiding through a contentious amendment in legal procedures that would have allowed him to.
Ceferin, who has led UEFA since 2016, stated that he was “tired of COVID, tired of two wars” and of preparations for a rival Super League, which he described as a “nonsense project.” In response to American and Swiss criminal investigations into international football corruption, UEFA implemented a 12-year presidential term restriction in 2017.
Football organizations were pressured to change and prevent networks of self-serving patronage and influence building, and Ceferin himself swore he would not stay in his role, which earns him approximately $3.5 million per year, after 2027.
When speaking at a press conference following the annual UEFA Congress of 55 member federations, Ceferin took aim at another perceived opponent.
He mentioned an unnamed European football official who made a “pathetic cry about morality” in a “narcissistic letter” to member federations.
“It was amusing to watch all this hysteria,” said Ceferin, who said that he had not announced his true intentions earlier because he wanted to see “the real face of some people.”
His aim is largely believed to be Romanian Federation President Razvan Burleanu, one of Ceferin’s colleagues who represents Europe on FIFA’s ruling council.
The move on term limits that Ceferin was criticized for has already been taken, by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who attended the UEFA summit in Paris.
Infantino was appointed as well in 2016 as a result of the corruption probes, and he pushed through legislation early in his president that will allow him to stay until 2031.
Ceferin’s perceived power grab became more contentious after he appeared to support UEFA Vice-President Luis Rubiales of Spain in the aftermath of misconduct at the Women’s World Cup final in August, as well as attempting to ease a ban on Russian teams from international competitions by allowing the country’s under-17 teams to participate in UEFA events.
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