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New Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin issues immediate warning to big clubs over Champions League reform and Financial Fair Play

Frank Dalleres
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12th Extraordinary UEFA Congress
Relative newcomer Aleksander Ceferin won the vote to replace Michel Platini by a landslide (Source: Getty)

New Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has vowed that European football's governing body will take the fight to big clubs over the allocation of Champions League places and beef up financial fair play (FFP) rules.

Ceferin, the little-known head of Slovenian football, comprehensively defeated Dutchman Michael van Praag 42-13 in Wednesday's vote to decide who would replace the disgraced Michel Platini.

Uefa last month agreed to guarantee four Champions League places each to teams from England, Spain, Germany and Italy in a move criticised for favouring big clubs, who had threatened a breakaway European Super League.

Read more: Where Uefa's new boss stands on the key issues

Ceferin, 48, successfully appealed to smaller federations who felt marginalised and threatened by the controversial changes, and has promised to address inequality further with stronger regulation of FFP.

He said:

"Whether I want it or not, I will have to deal with that [Champions League changes] and that will be the first thing to deal with.

"Uefa is a very good and very strong organisation, it was without leadership for some time and I think that in a way was a problem in dealing with those things.

"We should show we are the ones who are the governing body with our 55 national associations, and at the same time we have to have dialogue with the clubs and I think the situation can be solved."

FFP rules designed to limit the losses that clubs playing in Uefa competitions were permitted to make have also been watered down under pressure from the biggest clubs, but Ceferin said he intended to mount a new offensive.

He added:

“FFP should be enforced more strongly because the gap between the rich ones and the poor ones is wider and wider. We have a lot to do.”

Platini, who was forced out of office last year over ethics violations, used a speech at Uefa's congress to reiterate belief in his innocence, saying: "You are going to continue this wonderful mission without me, for reasons that I won't go into."

The European Club Association (ECA), an influential alliance of more than 200 of the continent's leading teams, said it looked forward to "continuing the constructive collaboration based on mutual respect and unity with Europe’s football governing body under his leadership. ECA wishes him all the best for his upcoming challenges in representing the interests of European football at the highest level."

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