|Common Goal||Aleksander Čeferin is a committed supporter of the Common Goal initiative, which funds high-impact football charities worldwide. He contributes 1% of their annual salary to the project, which was co-founded by Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata|
2019 08 14 Retrieve
[When announcing the news that Stephanie Frappart would take charge of the Super Cup game between Liverpool and Chelsea, UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin expressed his hope that it would inspire women] As an organisation, we place the utmost importance on the development of women’s football in all areas. I hope the skill and devotion that Stephanie has shown throughout her career to reach this level will provide inspiration to millions of girls and women around Europe and show them there should be no barriers in order to reach one’s dream
2019 08 27 Retrieve
[Aleksander Čeferin hails Eric Cantona when giving him UEFA President’s Award] This is a logical choice because this award not only recognises his career as a player of the highest calibre, but also honours him for the person he is – a man who refuses compromise, who stands up for his values, who speaks his mind and in particular, puts his heart and his soul into supporting the causes he believes in
2019 09 24 Retrieve
[Why have UEFA announced a third European club competition?] The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before. There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages
There was a widespread demand by all clubs to increase their chances of participating more regularly in European competition. This has been achieved with a strategic approach and in accordance with UEFA’s objective of having both more quality and more inclusivity in our club competitions
2019 10 15 Retrieve
[Bulgaria vs England racism shame: UEFA vows to ‘wage war’ on offenders & defends sanctions] There were times, not long ago, when the football family thought that the scourge of racism was a distant memory. The last couple of years have taught us that such thinking was, at best, complacent. The rise of nationalism across the continent has fuelled some unacceptable behaviour and some have taken it upon themselves to think that a football crowd is the right place to give voice to their appalling views.
As a governing body, I know we are not going to win any popularity contests. But some of the views expressed about UEFA’s approach to fighting racism have been a long way off the mark. UEFA, in close cooperation with the FARE network (Football Against Racism Europe), instituted the three-stage protocol for identifying and tackling racist behaviour during games. UEFA’s sanctions are among the toughest in sport for clubs and associations whose supporters are racist at our matches. The minimum sanction is a partial closure of the stadium – a move which costs the hosts at least hundreds of thousands in lost revenue and attaches a stigma to their supporters.
UEFA is the only football body to ban a player for ten matches for racist behaviour – the most severe punishment level in the game. Believe me, UEFA is committed to doing everything it can to eliminate this disease from football. We cannot afford to be content with this; we must always strive to strengthen our resolve.
More broadly, the football family – everyone from administrators to players, coaches and fans – needs to work with governments and NGOs to wage war on the racists and to marginalise their abhorrent views to the fringes of society. Football associations themselves cannot solve this problem. Governments too need to do more in this area. Only by working together in the name of decency and honour will we make progress
2019 10 16 Retrieve
[Ceferin pointed out that Uefa was the only football body to ban a player for 10 matches for racist behaviour, the most severe punishment in the game] As a governing body, I know we are not going to win any popularity contests. But some of the views expressed about Uefa’s approach to fighting racism have been a long way off the mark. Uefa’s sanctions are among the toughest in sport for clubs and associations whose supporters are racist at our matches
2019 11 11 Retrieve
[Euro 2020 stadiums: Guide to European Championship venues & host cities] There is great pleasure in being able to bring EURO 2020 to so many countries and cities, to see football acting as a bridge between nations, and to carry the competition closer to the fans, who are the essential lifeblood of the game
2019 12 03 Retrieve
[UEFA president Ceferin accuses UK Prime Minister Johnson of fuelling racism] When a politician that calls women with burqas ‘post boxes’ or ‘mailboxes’ then says publicly that he condemns UEFA - do you reply to that? Do you believe it’s honest? Come on
The situation in Europe is more and more tense. When you see high[-ranking] politicians, Prime Ministers - when you see presidents of Republics who are racists, who were sexist, you see that something is wrong. Because if you see an idiot from the streets shouting you say: ‘Okay, put him in prison’ and that’s it. But when politicians start speaking they are not punished. And we have that in Europe a lot more and more and more and more
2019 12 03b Retrieve
[UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has promised to make the organisation more accountable] Everything is ready, so that we can put in additional members of the disciplinary committee because now it’s a fixed number. We have already some proposals. But it’s too early to speak publicly about it. It will happen in March. The statutes will be changed. And then a week later we can do it
[Ceferin says that he believes that the rise of racist incidents is not directly related to football or its supporters, but rather a surge in nationalism throughout Europe] They don’t care about football. They care about their own idiotic ideology. And that’s why football is a reflection of society. It brings the worst to the stands. I still think that 99 per cent of football fans are not racist. But those idiots ruin everything. Then this attention is what they care about. They don’t care about football. Even if the players walk off, they will enjoy it. Only the real football fans would suffer. If we stop the match they enjoy it. They don’t care.
Do you think those idiots in Bulgaria care about the football match? They left the football match after 10 minutes. Do you think fans in Croatia who draw a swastika on the pitch care about football? No, they don’t. They are exactly like the Nazi Party in the 30s or the last century. And if we say we can’t do anything anymore then we should stop doing anything.
I’ve said before, it cannot be solved only by football. Governing bodies have to be helped by the government because for me if you are chanting or showing Nazi signs, that’s a criminal act. I speak with our colleagues, with my colleagues from the football federations [across Europe]. The other day I spoke with two or three of the very big countries in western Europe and they are worried. They say that 30% of the world probably supports the extreme right? So it’s a frightening, frightening situation. Of course there are two ways of looking at it: One is, yes, we [football] attract it. The second is that we can use football to do things because we have power. I don’t run away from that. We have power because if we do something it’s always big
2019 12 04 Retrieve
[UEFA chief Ceferin admits not enough is being done to fight racism] I don’t think that anybody’s doing enough for racism. We’re trying to do as much as we can. I don’t say we cannot improve and we are trying to improve. But it’s a problem that is more than just football. It’s a societal problem. Football is always the reflection of society and in Europe, I would say things are worse and worse every year
When a politician that calls women with burqas ‘post boxes’ or ‘mailboxes’ then says publicly that he condemns UEFA - do you reply to that? Do you believe it’s honest? Come on
There’s no magic stick to tell us what exactly to do to stop it immediately. But we are well aware that we have to do more, that we have to try more and the situation is not the same as 20 years ago. It’s much worse and it’s getting worse and worse
2019 12 29 Retrieve
[The likes of Jurgen Klopp and Maurizio Sarri have put forward the idea of referees stopping the game and players walking off the pitch to take a stand against racist abuse from stands] The moment a match is stopped, or it’s not played, I think that 90 per cent of normal people in the stadium would kick the asses of those idiots. It’s 2019, it’s not 100 years ago
2020 03 03 Retrieve
[UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin remained optimistic European football is ready to tackle the issue] We have security concerns, political instability concerns and one of the concerns is the virus. We are dealing with it and we are confident we can deal with it. Let’s try to be optimistic and not think about dark scenarios. There’s time for that later.
2020 03 03b Retrieve
[UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin hints at racism reforms] Things need to change. We must begin by applying the rules we already have. That would be a good starting point. That means applying the three-step procedure. We must not be afraid to do so. Everywhere. No exceptions. In the last three seasons, the UEFA disciplinary bodies have imposed 73 partial stadium closures and ordered 39 matches to be played behind closed doors following incidents of discrimination. That shows that we are doing what is currently in our power to do. But it also shows what a serious problem it is, and that we need to do more. More, and perhaps differently. So that we can be proud of ourselves once again
Football is, above all, a celebration of life, community and unity. It’s an exchange. It’s about sharing. The problem is not on the pitch, where diversity is greater than in any other sport and probably any other part of society. The problem is in our societies. And this has to stop
When purpose over profit becomes profit over purpose, it is time to raise the alarm. Football is not simply a business like any other. It has a history, tradition and structure that must be respected. The football pyramid is delicate and must not be knocked off balance. Certain projects, some devised on other continents with the backing of governing bodies, are particularly worrying. Supporters are not consumers. Or customers. They are supporters. Players are not machines. Or products, or pawns. They are players. No football administrator, no matter the size of the ego, should think we are the stars of the game. We are only the guardians of the game
2020 03 05 Retrieve
[UEFA president Ceferin calls on England to ditch Carabao Cup] The league cup is off in France already. Only England remains. I think that everybody knows that it would be better for everyone if that were not played any more. But the problem is that, through that cup, you finance a lot of clubs that are quite disadvantaged, so I understand the problem. The English are also quite traditionalist, [they] like things that have been there for ages
[Ceferin insists a call on the format of the tournament from Champions League 2024 has not yet been made] We have many proposals on the table. Whatever evolution you have, you won’t satisfy everyone. I’m not naive enough to think that everybody will be happy. Everybody will have to step back a bit. They shouldn’t forget that the Champions League is the biggest club sports competition in the world, with some tradition. You don’t just say, ‘Now I play differently’, and all the fans go and watch you
[Ceferin is hopeful a change to the VAR system in future UEFA events will prove universally popular] Yes, absolutely - thicker lines are essential for me. Because when you lose a match worth €100 million because of one centimetre, because your foot is long or your nose is long, it’s a bit too much. The line that is drawn is a subjective thing because he or she draws it in a van or wherever they are. It has to be a clear and obvious mistake. There’s no way back now [with VAR] but let’s see how we improve it
2020 03 06 Retrieve
[The spread of the disease has raised concerns surrounding Euro 2020] We are dealing with it and we are confident we can deal with it. You don’t know how many big concerns we have: we have security concerns, political instability and one is also the virus. Let’s try to be optimistic, not think about dark scenarios – there’s time for that later
2020 03 12 Retrieve
[UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has already stated that no calls regarding this summer’s European Championship will be rushed into] We are dealing with it and we are confident we can deal with it. You don’t know how many big concerns we have: we have security concerns, political instability and one is also the virus. Let’s try to be optimistic, not think about dark scenarios – there’s time for that later
2020 03 28 Retrieve
[UEFA president admits season could be lost as coronavirus pandemic intensifies] If we don’t succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost. There is a plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs
It’s hard for me to imagine all the matches behind closed doors, but we still don’t know whether we’ll resume, with or without spectators. If there was no alternative, it would be better to finish the championships
2020 03 30 Retrieve
[UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin have drawn up multiple scenarios for what may need to happen in the coming weeks and months for leagues right across the continent] Nobody knows when the pandemic will end. We have a plan A, B or C: to restart in May, in June or at the end of June. If then we wouldn’t be able to do any of these, the season would probably be lost. There is also the possibility of ending this season at the start of the next, which would then be postponed, starting a little later. We’re in touch with the leagues, the clubs, there is a working group and we’ll see what solution is best for all. We have to wait, like any other sector
2020 03 31 Retrieve
[UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted last week that the current football season could be ruled void] If we don’t succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost. There is a plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs
2020 04 03 Retrieve
[UEFA declared on Thursday that they hope competitions across Europe can still be completed this season] We are confident that football can restart in the months to come - with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities - and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified. A joint management of calendars is strictly required as the conclusion of the current season must be coordinated with the start of the new one, which may be partly impacted because of the overstretch. Closely following the development of the current situation, the calendar working group will indicate as soon as possible, and ideally by mid-May, which of the plans can be enacted for the completion of the season without leaving anyone behind
2020 04 04 Retrieve
[UEFA president sets Champions League deadline as coronavirus crisis continues] It must finish by August 3, both the Champions League and Europa League. It is an extraordinary situation we are in, so we are flexible on dates and kick-off times. If the crisis eases earlier, then we can start sooner. We could play with the current system, or in one-off matches played on neutral turf. For now, it’s just an option to play with a final eight or final four. The only wrong decision we could make now would be to play in a way that puts the health and safety of players, fans and referees at risk. However, if we are in secure conditions, then I don’t see the problem
2020 04 07 Retrieve
[UEFA president Ceferin certain Reds will be crowned Premier League champions] I see no way for Liverpool to stay untitled. If the championship resumes, they will almost certainly win it - theoretically, it has not yet reached the guaranteed level, but it is practically close. However, if it could not be played, it would also be necessary to announce the results in some way and find some key on how the champions should be determined. And, of course, again I do not see a scenario in which that would not be Liverpool. I understand that fans will be disappointed if it happens in an empty stadium or even at the green table [by officials if the season is avoided], but I believe they will win the title one way or another
[Ceferin is ‘optimistic’ that Serie A and La Liga schedules will be completed] I’m an optimist. I am optimistic that we will see the conclusion of the Spanish championship, I am optimistic that we will see the conclusion of the Italian one, and I am optimistic in general. Of course, I cannot guarantee anything, I cannot promise anything. It will all depend on the situation in the individual countries, it will all depend on whether the circumstances are good enough for you to avoid endangering anyone by playing football
2020 04 20 Retrieve
[Ceferin is keen for European leagues to be played to a finish] The priority is the health of fans, players and managers. I am an optimist by nature, I believe there are options that can allow us to start tournaments and complete them. We may have to play without spectators, but I think the most important thing is playing games. In such hard times it would bring people happiness and a certain sense of normality even if the matches will only be on TV.
2020 04 27 Retrieve
[FAI may be unable to avail of €4.3m of UEFA money] Our sport is facing an unprecedented challenge brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. UEFA wants to help its members to respond in ways that are appropriate to their specific circumstances. As a result, we have agreed that up to €4.3m per association, paid for the remainder of this season and next, as well as part of the investment funding, can be used as our members see fit to rebuild the football community.
I believe this is a responsible decision to help as much as we can; and I am proud of the unity that football is showing throughout this crisis. Without doubt, football will be at the heart of life returning to normal. When that time comes, football must be ready to answer that call
2020 05 07 Retrieve
[UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has welcomed the planned return of German football on May 16] It is great news that the German authorities have agreed that the Bundesliga can return. This is a huge and positive step to bringing optimism back to people’s lives. It is the result of constructive dialogue and careful planning between the football authorities and politicians and I am confident that Germany will provide a shining example to all of us in how to bring football - with all its excitement, emotion and unpredictability - back into our lives. I wish everyone connected with this every success
2020 05 17 Retrieve
[UEFA chief Ceferin confident European season will be completed by August despite coronavirus] We have an idea but we have to wait for the executive committee of UEFA to confirm the dates. I can say that the European season will be finished, if everything is as it is now, in August. As things look now, I’m sure that we can finish the European season and this means UEFA competition. I think the majority of leagues will finish the season. The ones who will not, it’s their decision. But they will still have to play qualifiers if they want to participate in the European UEFA competition
If you cannot play in your country, then you have to organise it at a neutral ground. I don’t see the reason why French authorities would not allow them to organise a match without spectators, but let’s see. It’s out of my power
We’ve had conversations with nine cities and everything is set. With three cities, we have some issues. So we will discuss further. In principle, we will do it in 12 cities but if not, we are ready to do it in 10, nine or eight
2020 05 18 Retrieve
[UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said recently that he expects the rest of the season, including the Champions League and Europa League campaigns, to be completed by August] We have an idea but we have to wait for the executive committee of UEFA to confirm the dates. I can say that the European season will be finished, if everything is as it is now, in August. As things look now, I’m sure that we can finish the European season and this means UEFA competition
2020 05 20 Retrieve
[UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said recently that he expects the 2019-20 season, including the Champions League and Europa League, to be concluded by August] We have an idea but we have to wait for the executive committee of UEFA to confirm the dates. I can say that the European season will be finished, if everything is as it is now, in August. As things look now, I’m sure that we can finish the European season and this means UEFA competition
2020 06 07 Retrieve
[Ligue 1 could resume with play-offs before August 2] We would first of all like to clarify that it is the competence of national associations to decide on the format of their domestic competitions, in particular by taking into account the circumstances and restrictive measures specific to the country. As mentioned by UEFA a few weeks ago, the French authorities’ decision to cancel the season was taken relatively early. Nevertheless, and provided that the national associations are able to coordinate with the competent national authorities a potential restart of domestic competition, August 2, 2020, would be an appropriate date to end the domestic competitions.
2020 06 17 Retrieve
[Champions League set to resume in August as Lisbon plays host to remainder of tournament] I am delighted that we are able to resume almost all of our competitions. I am confident that we will not have to endure the fans’ absence for long and that they will be allowed into stadiums sooner rather than later. UEFA took a bold decision when it decided to postpone Euro 2020. But in doing so, we created the space which has allowed domestic club competitions across the continent to resume, where possible, and play to a conclusion. While the game has suffered huge difficulties as a result of the pandemic, those blows would have landed much harder if we had not shown leadership in those early days. The football community has worked together and shown tremendous unity during this unprecedented crisis. I would like to thank FIFA, our sister confederations, national associations, clubs, leagues, players and the relevant authorities for their continuous support and commitment and I am convinced that we come out of this crisis stronger and with closer links than ever before.
2020 06 30 Retrieve
[Champions League restart: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says Lisbon will be able to stage finale] I would like to thank the Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa for his dedication to this project and the work he is doing alongside the Portuguese Football Federation to ensure that Portugal delivers a successful tournament. I am confident that with the continued and constant collaboration between all stakeholders, we will conclude the season in a positive way in Lisbon. There is no need for a Plan B.
2020 07 13 Retrieve
[UEFA ‘remain committed’ to Financial Fair Play] It was established to stop the losses and it was successful. But, in the future, we will have to adapt it, change some things. Maybe we should modernise, go next step but when it will happen I don’t think very soon. I don’t know if mistakes have been made, probably yes, everywhere mistakes have been made
We’re thinking of improving [FFP], modernising it and doing something more about the competitive balance. We’re also considering some sort of ‘luxury tax’, if it’s possible
2020 07 16 Retrieve
[Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and UEFA hold peace talks] As with other clubs, they are our asset, I respect them. I don’t want to say that, ‘now we don’t like Manchester City’. We like them, they are our club