UEFA's Aleksander Ceferin aiming to strengthen FFP, shorten transfer window

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.

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.

Opinion | 14.09.2016

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.

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

Fresh start

Just months ago Aleksander Ceferin was largely unknown beyond Slovenia. Now, though, the 48-year old is the new UEFA president. Ceferin won the support of the majority of UEFA's national associations in the vote at the extraordinary Congress in Athens - including the German football association (DFB). He is the seventh president in UEFA's 62-year history.

The diplomat

Ebbe Schwartz was the first president of UEFA. The Dane, who was known as an excellent diplomat, was elected in 1954 and held the position for eight years. In 1964, two years after he left the post, Schwarz died after a heart attack on the way home from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, aged 63.

Died in office

For 10 years, from 1962 to 1972, the Swiss national Gustav Wiederkehr held UEFA's top job. It was under his stewardship in 1971 that the UEFA Cup, which is now the Europa League, was born. Wiederkehr died at his workplace in Zurich following a heart attack at the age of 66. Hungarian Sandor Barcs took the role of interim chief of operations for half a year.

A man with pedigree

Artemio Franchi was the only candidate for the post in 1973. The Italian had a footballing pedigree: After his playing career he took up refereeing, before becoming president of Fiorentina. Under Franchi UEFA increased the number of participants in the European championships to eight. In 1983, at the age of 61, Franchi was killed in a car accident leaving UEFA without a president once again.

From interim boss to president

After Franci's death, UEFA Vice President Jacques Georges took over the president's duties on an interim basis. In 1984, the Frenchman was actually elected to the post. His tenure was marked by a major step forward in the commerialization of European footballl largely through growing television revenues. Georges stepped down in 1990.

The record holder

Lennart Johansson was elected in 1990 and held the post for 17 years - longer than anyone else. It was during the Swede's reign that the European Cup became the incredibly lucrative Champions League. In 1998 Johansson lost the FIFA presidential election to Joseph Blatter, before losing the 2007 UEFA presidential election to Michel Platini. He was subsequently named UEFA's honorary president.

Fall from grace

After he retired as a player, former Juventus and France star Michel Platini became something of a protégé to the longtime FIFA president, Sepp Blatter. However, FIFA imposed long bans from all football-related activities on both men, after news came out of a dubious payment Blatter made to Platini in 2011. Both men deny any wrongdoing, but appear unlikely to work in football again.