— Published 9 January 2023

Aleksander Ceferin alone in race

The year 2023 promises to be without surprises in international football. After Gianni Infantino, who is guaranteed a new mandate at the head of FIFA next March in Kigali (Rwanda), Aleksander Ceferin (pictured above) will in turn experience a re-election written in advance. The Slovenian leader, who has been in office since September 2016, will be the only candidate for his own succession as UEFA president. The European football body announced at the end of last week that only one name had been registered as a candidate for the top job by the deadline of Thursday 5 January: Aleksander Ceferin. The 55-year-old former lawyer is now quietly heading for a third four-year term at UEFA’s elective congress on 5 April 2023 in Lisbon. In the past four years, the Slovenian leader has often been at the forefront, notably to nip the European Super League project in the bud, or to oppose FIFA’s ambition to impose a World Cup every two years. Under his leadership, UEFA has also launched an in-depth reform of the Champions League, whose format will be increased from 32 to 36 teams from 2024, with a mini-league of eight rounds instead of the group stage. The next UEFA Congress, on the other hand, is likely to be more uncertain for one of the positions of European representative on the FIFA Council. The Frenchman Noël Le Graët, a close friend of Gianni Infantino, who has been very weakened in his own country, will be opposed by the Portuguese Fernando Gomes, vice-president of UEFA and presented as an ally of Aleksander Ceferin.