ČEFERIN ASSERTS EUROPEAN SOCCER POWER IN FACE OF ‘THREATS’

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AMSTERDAM (AP) — asserting the power of European soccer, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin warned of alarming threats to the game as he resists attempts to radically change competitions that would be a “death sentence.”

With FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the audience, Čeferin told the UEFA congress on Tuesday he was not “ashamed” European soccer was seen as so successful and dominating.

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FIFA has tried to gain a greater foothold in the club game, with Infantino trying to raise finances to attract the biggest names to an enlarged 24-team Club World Cup. Plans for a global clubs’ league from Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez also emerged after he met with Infantino in December.

Čeferin said it was an “inalienable right” for UEFA and other confederations to organize their own competitions.

“The principles of solidarity, of promotion, relegation and open leagues are also non-negotiable,” Čeferin said. “Our principles, history, tradition and structure have enabled football to dominate other sports and enabled European football to dominate the rest of the world. Calling them into question would be a death sentence for our sport.”

ČEFERIN ASSERTS EUROPEAN SOCCER POWER IN FACE OF 'THREATS'
ČEFERIN ASSERTS EUROPEAN SOCCER POWER IN FACE OF ‘THREATS’

The future format of the Champions League is also being debated with opposition growing in the last year to a concept to turn Europe’s elite competition into a largely closed one.

“If our success enables us to defend with strength, conviction and legitimacy the European sport model, based on promotion and relegation and the principle of solidarity, we can be proud,” Čeferin said in Amsterdam. “If our success enables us to ward off threats that appear on the horizon, we can be proud. These threats are alarming and we need to anticipate the worst if we are to prevent it.

“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. ”

Čeferin tried to distance himself from dramatic attempts to transform the soccer landscape in a speech to officials from the 55 UEFA member nations and leaders from other confederations.

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“No football administrator, no matter the size of ego should think we are the stars of the game. Because we are not,” Čeferin said, without naming anyone. “We are the guardians of a legacy. We are guardians, here to protect the game, its players and its history.

Ibekwe Cynthiahttp://evergreennewsonline.com
Ibekwe Cynthia .C. is a certified senior reporter/graphic designer/Advert executive at Evergreennewsonline.

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