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UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin seeks major changes to transfer rules

The head of football's European governing body has called for an overhaul of the transfer system following a record-breaking summer. However, Aleksander Ceferin said UEFA needed the help of European politicians to do so.

Following a summer window that saw Neymar move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222 million ($266 million), UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has called for major changes to regulations governing the transfer market.

Speaking at the 13th Extraordinary UEFA Congress in Geneva on Wednesday, Ceferin pointed to salary caps, a luxury tax,smaller squads and fewer loan deals as measures that could help rein in out-of-control spending.

"The momentum is there. I have every intention to do it. That's my goal," the 49-year-old Slovene said. "There is a whole arsenal to regulate the game in a better way."

At the same time, though, Ceferin stressed that football authorities needed the help of European politicians, as current European labor and business laws stood in the way of such changes. Without mentioning her by name, Ceferin also responded to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's criticism of the direction that football is currently headed in.

Chancellor Merkel's concerns

In an interview conducted by former Germany capitain Philipp Lahm for last Sunday's edition of the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Merkel commented on the skyrocketing transfer fees.

The chancellor said she had observed trends that were cause for concern, such as "more and more matches, more and more advertising."

She also warned that "the joy of football is lost when the connection to the fans decreases, because they move from one team to another."

Paris Saint-Germain Vorstellung neuer Spieler Neymar (Reuters/C. Hartmann)

PSG smashed the transfer window last month by triggering the €222-million release clause in Neymar's Barcelona contract

Ceferin 'waiting for the green light'

Ceferin responded on Wednesday by saying that he was waiting for "the green light from those who publicly condemn the current situation but have yet to enable us to put it right."  

"I cannot say that you have done much to help us set things straight so far," he added.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who attended the Congress as a guest, threw his support behind the ideas put forward by Ceferin.

"It is time that that all of us tackle the transfer system for the future," he said.

Housekeeping taken care of

The extraordinary congress, which lasted less than an hour, also took care of a number of formalities.

Russia regained its seat on the FIFA Council when Alexei Sorokin, chief executive of Russia's 2018 World Cup organizing committee, was elected as a UEFA member by acclamation on a term that runs until 2021.

The seat had been vacant since Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was barred from running again by then-FIFA governance committee chief, Miguel Maduro, who in his ruling, cited a conflict of interest.

The congress also ratified two members of the European Club Association (ECA) as members of the  UEFA Executive Eommittee, Juventus President Andrea Agnelli and Arsenal's Ivan Gazidis.

pfd/mf (AP, dpa, SID)

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