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UEFA WAR: Boban resigns in protest over presidential power move

Unrest within European soccer organization On Thursday, UEFA saw the first departure of a senior management due to the organization’s president Aleksander Čeferin’s efforts to amend the organization’s bylaws to extend his term in office.

The legendary Zvonimir Boban of Croatia and AC Milan left his position as UEFA chief of football after three years, citing his “total disapproval” of Čeferin’s political power grab.

The most visible demonstration of rising dissatisfaction with Čeferin’s leadership since the Slovenian lawyer was re-elected without opposition in April of last year to continue a presidency that began in 2016 is Boban’s resignation.

UEFA sided with Spain’s discredited former vice president Luis Rubiales amid the controversy surrounding events at the August Women’s World Cup final. When Rubiales eventually resigned, UEFA officially praised him in a statement that showed no backing to the Spanish players.

UEFA then attempted, despite its own ban issued just days after the armed invasion of Ukraine, to reintroduce Russia’s youth teams into European competitions. After several member federations persisted in their insistence that they would not engage in games with Russia, that idea was abandoned in less than two weeks.

At a meeting held on December 2, in Hamburg, Germany, alongside the draw for the men’s 2024 European Championship, rifts within UEFA’s executive committee were exacerbated.

With Čeferin’s consent, a plan was put up to change the 12-year term limit on UEFA presidents, an anti-corruption measure enacted in the wake of the 2015 revelations of wrongdoing in international soccer by US and Swiss federal investigations. The incident caused Michel Platini to resign as president of UEFA and gave Čeferin the opportunity to take over.

The change would make it clear that Čeferin’s first three years in office, which he used to finish Platini’s mandate until 2019, would not be deducted from his twelve-year term limit.

If the UEFA congress in Paris on February 8 approves it, Čeferin may run for president in 2027 and remain in his $3 million-a-year position for 15 years rather than the required 12.

When the opposition to Čeferin was led by former Manchester United CEO and UEFA treasurer David Gill, Boban was not in Hamburg. Gill stated that despite the fact that he would personally profit from being able to continue serving on the executive committee, he was against the time limit extension on principle.

In his resignation letter, which was made public on Thursday, Boban said that he had tried to persuade Čeferin to reconsider.

In a statement, UEFA stated that Boban departed “by mutual agreement.”

The Nyon, Switzerland-based group said, “UEFA extends its gratitude to Mr. Boban for his dedicated service and wishes him the best of luck in his future career endeavors.”

Čeferin has acknowledged in interviews that term restrictions for leaders in politics and sports are essential in preventing patronage and power cliques.

“Remaining too long is wrong,” he stated to Politico in December 2021. To begin with, you have lost self-control because you believe you will always be there. Secondly, you eventually get to believe it’s your company. To be honest, you also need new ideas and people with fresh perspectives.”

Čeferin’s fame peaked in 2021 when he rallied lawmakers and soccer fans to block legendary clubs from launching a European Super League as a breakaway from the Champions League, which is overseen by UEFA. Later, he performed sequences from a four-part Apple TV series about the project’s thwarting.

Infantino is already confident that he will be able to serve as president for another twelve years, until 2031. FIFA has already altered its bylaws to guarantee that the 2016–19 term he spent succeeding Blatter does not count toward his 12-year limit.

Similar to UEFA, some members of the International Olympic Committee desire that their president, Thomas Bach, serve longer than the 12-year term that was imposed following the 25-year-old Salt Lake City bidding corruption incident.

Bach has refused to put an end to rumors about a matter that would perhaps go to vote in Paris on July 23–24, the eve of the Olympics.

Yachiga Tavershima
Yachiga Tavershimahttps://goalsvibe.com
Soccer Blogger with a keen eye for detailed reportage. I bring the latest drama in the most dramatic way
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