UEFA's Aleksander Ceferin to push on with reforms and fight for World Cup spots

08 February 2017 05:09

Reform, new blood and World Cup places will be on the agenda when the UEFA executive committee (ExCo) meets in Nyon on Thursday, its first gathering of 2017.

Having campaigned on a promise to introduce term limits, r ecently-elected president Aleksander Ceferin is expected to press on with his proposed changes to UEFA's statutes.

The meeting also gives Ceferin a chance to implement another of his manifesto pledges as half of the ExCo's 16 members are up for re-election at the UEFA Congress in April. The Slovenian wants all of his most senior colleagues to have jobs at their respective FAs.

Football Association vice-chairman David Gill is one of the eight whose four-year terms end this year but only he and Dutch FA president Michael van Praag, who Ceferin defeated to become president, currently have active roles with their national associations.

Banned from football for a year last July, ex-German FA boss Wolfgang Niersbach already knows his UEFA career is over but Ceferin's preference for candidates still involved in domestic football should also lead to the likes of Italian veteran Giancarlo Abete and Denmark's Allan Hansen not seeking new terms.

Gill is expected to get another term but UEFA will not confirm who will also be on the shortlist for the vote in Helsinki in April.

The other key issue on the agenda for European football's leaders is a united response to FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026.

UEFA currently gets a minimum of 13 of the 32 slots at a World Cup but with most of the additional 16 places going to Africa and Asia, Europe wants to see its status as the senior confederation guaranteed with 16 teams at a football's most prestigious event.

UEFA's members would naturally like more than 16 slots but the ExCo is understood to realise this would provoke an unwinnable war with the other confederations, so it is better to concentrate on a more realistic target that would result in one European team in each of the proposed 16 three-nation groups in 2026.

Source: PA


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