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UEFA's Aleksander Ceferin aiming to strengthen FFP

Chuck Penfold
September 14, 2017

It's been one year since Aleksander Ceferin was elected president of UEFA, on a promise of reforming the institution. Now he is looking to implement changes to Financial Fair Play and a shorter transfer window.

UEFA-Präsident Aleksander Ceferin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/L.Duperrex

Speaking in an exclusive interview with German public broadcaster ARD, Aleksander Ceferin said it was time for UEFA to take action to strengthen its Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which are meant to prevent clubs from spending significantly more on players, than what they generate in terms of revenue.

"This is a one of those decisive moments," said Ceferin, a 49-year-old Slovenian and a lawyer by trade. "It (FFP) was successful, but times change. We need to adjust it, to modernize it, we need to do something for the balance of sporting competition because the gap between the big and small clubs is getting larger."

Clamping down on squad sizes and loans

Ceferin, who was elected president at an extraordinary Congress in Athens on September 14, 2016,  said UEFA hadn't yet settled on any concrete action to remedy the situation, but that they were considering several ideas, including putting limits on how many players any given club could have on its roster, as well as how many it could send out on loan.

FFP has come in for particular criticism since Paris Saint-Germain used the summer transfer window to pay €222 million ($265 million) to purchase Neymar from Barcelona and €180 million to Monaco for Kylian Mbappe. UEFA responded by launching an investigation.

Ceferin also told ARD that he would not shy away from taking strong action against a big club like PSG if it failed to fall into line on FFP, including the possibility of excluding it from the Champions League.

Transfer window is 'too long'

Asked about recent suggestions that the summer transfer window should be shortened to end before the European season starts, Ceferin said he agreed.

"Yes, I think the transfer window is open for too long," he said. "I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to say that the window closes at the end of July."

Cererin added that UEFA was already holding "serious discussions " on how to deal with the issue.

Among the latest to call for the transfer window to be shortened has been Reinhard Rauball, the president of the DFL, which operates the Bundesliga.

Term limits for key UEFA posts

Ceferin's first year in office has brought some change to European football's governing body. This includes persuading delegates at the UEFA Congress in Helsinki in April, to pass a package of reforms to the way the organization is governed, including term limits on key posts - including his own.

Judging by the way his is talking as he enters his second year, it looks like Aleksander Ceferin has many more changes in mind.