Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin was elected on Wednesday in Athens as the seventh President of UEFA, defeating his opponent Michael van Praag from The Netherlands by a significant margin, with 42 votes against 13.
The 48-year-old head of the Slovenian soccer federation was always the favorite for victory having secured the support of most of the 55 national federations before the start of the extraordinary UEFA Congress at Grand Resort Lagonissi.
He had received in advance the public support of major national federations such as those of Germany, France and Russia, as well as Greece’s.
The new president will remain at the top of European soccer’s governing body for about two years to complete the mandate Michel Platini had to abandon due to his four-year ban from the game. Therefore a new election will take place in 2018.
In his speech Ceferin stressed that his goal is equality in the game and transparency in the administration of UEFA, saying “a wind of change is blowing in European [soccer]... We should put [soccer] first and leave aside the politics, the plots etc.”
Before the election took place, Platini delivered a seven-minute farewell speech in which he stressed he is not guilty of what he has been condemned for, i.e. illegally receiving money from former FIFA head Sepp Blatter, and that he will not take part in another UEFA congress, meaning he does not plan to return to the game.