Football 2 years ago

Slovenian Ceferin voted new UEFA president

  • Slovenian Ceferin voted new UEFA president

    UEFA's newly elected president, Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin, delivers a speech following the vote during the 12th Extraordinary UEFA congress in Lagonissi, some 40 kilometers south of Athens, on September 14, 2016. Disgraced football leader Michel Platini said on September 14 in a farewell speech to UEFA that he felt no guilt over a $2 million payment from FIFA that has seen him suspended for four years. / AFP / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini insists he has done nothing wrong and says his conscience is clear, while giving a farewell speech to European soccer's governing body at its extraordinary Congress.

The Frenchman, who resigned in May after being banned from the sport for four years for ethics violations, was given a round of applause by the delegates on Wednesday but did not get a standing ovation after his seven-minute speech.

"Thank you. Thank you for these nine years. I think we did a great job ... Friends of football, farewell," said Platini, who was first elected in 2007.

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His replacement was to be elected immediately afterwards with Slovenia's Aleksander Ceferin and Dutchman Michael van Praag as the two candidates.

Despite Platini's ban, FIFA's ethics committee said an exception had been made for the event as a "gesture of humanity".

"It's very emotional for me to be here but I'm also delighted to be here because this will be my last speech to a UEFA Congress," Platini began.

"You are going to continue this wonderful mission without me for reasons I don't want to go into today.

"I have a clear conscience, I am certain not to have made any mistake and will continue to fight this in the courts."

One of the finest players of his generation who went on to become a powerful sporting official, Platini was suspended over his dealings with fallen world soccer chief Sepp Blatter during the scandal which shook the sport's global governing body last year.

Platini was banished along with Blatter over a payment of two million Swiss francs ($A2.8 million) made to the Frenchman by FIFA with Blatter's approval in 2011 for work done a decade earlier.

Platini said football was "a game rather than a product, a sport rather than a market, a show not a business".

"There isn't one football for large nations and one for small nations, there is a single football, a single sport, it doesn't belong to FIFA or UEFA, it belongs to the whole world," he said.

"That is why I wanted to come today to say thank you and, friends of football, farewell."

Ceferin, the president of Slovenia's football federation, was overwhelmingly elected as the new head of UEFA at the extraordinary Congress.

The 48-year-old beat van Praag by 42 votes to 13.

Ceferin, who is not a member of UEFA's executive committee, was little known outside his country until he announced his intention to run in June.

"I am not a showman, I have no ego issues and I am not a man of unrealistic promises," he told delegates before the vote. Each of UEFA's 55 member associations had one vote in the election.

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