The president of UEFA, the Slovenian Aleksandar Ceferin, said that the new Champions League is «the last nail in the coffin of the» Super League «and valued that having prevented that alternative competition from being forged is the greatest achievement of his mandate.
«The key to everything was having managed to prevent, in two, three days, that crazy idea of the so-called Super League, which would have meant a total destruction of football, the end of the European model of sport,» Ceferin said in an interview with the agency. Slovenian STA publishes today.
The 54-year-old Slovenian lawyer is confident of achieving another term at the head of UEFA in April 2023, in which he wants to continue affirming the values of solidarity, inclusion and openness in football and against discrimination and populism.
He explained that the reform of the Champions League, approved on Tuesday by the UEFA Executive Committee in Vienna, represents the definitive end point to the super league project.
«That has been the last nail in the coffin. The coffin was prepared much earlier, but now we had to close it completely,» said the head of the EUFA.
At a press conference in Vienna after the UEFA Congress ended last Wednesday, Ceferin already assured that the «Super League is finished once and for all, for at least 20 years.»
The benefits of reform
As of the 2024-25 season, the Champions League will have 36 clubs, four more than now. In the first phase each will play eight games against different opponents according to the so-called Swiss model, which, in his opinion, will help make the matches more interesting.
«The big teams will play more games against the big ones, but also against modest teams. The modest ones will also play against others in their category and will have more chance of advancing,» he summarized in the interview.
«That system will be more interesting than the current one since after the first phase it will not be clear yet who will continue,» Ceferin said.
the russian invasion
Another difficult challenge that UEFA has had to face has been how to proceed in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, according to its president.
The expulsion of the Russian clubs and the Russian national team from UEFA competitions represented a «necessary suspension of sporting neutrality» to put pressure on those who decide on the war, Ceferin explained.
However, he also does not consider it positive that football punishes players, coaches and fans who are not responsible for the situation.
Russia, to the Asian Confederation?
The rumor that Russia could move to the Asian confederation comes, in Ceferin’s opinion, «from some politician and not from the Russian football federation, since that would mean taking Russian football back 100 years.»