The New UEFA President Alexander Čeferin — a Lawyer, a Football Player, a Basketball Player and a Karateka

Once a week, he plays both futsal and football.

In February 2011, Alexander Čeferin first received congratulations on the victory from Michael van Praag. At that time, the Dutchman visited Brdo as a representative of UEFA and was one of the first to congratulate Čeferin on his election as the President of the Slovenian Federation of Football.

On that day (16 February 2011), Alexander Čeferin became the third leader of the Slovenian Federation of Football after Rudij Zavrla (1991–2009) and Ivan Simič (2009–2010). He was a non-alternative candidate, as his rival Tugomir Frajman had earlier withdrawn his candidacy. Then Alexander Čeferin received 24 votes in his support out of 29 possible.

«The most suitable candidate would be Čeferin. The Slovenian football needs an unbiased and highly educated person, who would once again bring peace to the Slovenian football family,” Drago Kos said in his interview to MMC a month before the elections. Kos once was one of the candidates for the post of the head of the Slovenian Federation of Football. The Association of Football Referees and six inter-municipal associations put forward the candidacy of Alexander Čeferin. In the elections, besides the representative offices in Ljubljana, Ptuj, Nova Gorica, Lendava, Gorenjska and Koper, he also enlisted the support of the majority of delegates from the so-called “Eastern Block” (Maribor, Murska Sobota, and Celje).


Alexander Čeferin played for the Grosuplje local club in the third league

In his presidential program, Čeferin pointed out that since 2005, he had been a permanent member of the executive committee and a legal counsel of the Lesna industrija Litija futsal club. Also since 2005, he was a member of the executive committee and a player of the F.C. Ljubljana Lawyers sports association. Since 2006 he was a freelancer, and since 2010 — a member of the F.C. Olimpija Ljubljana executive committee.

“Once a week I play booth futsal and football,” Čeferin wrote in the MMC-chat a few months later. In the league of veterans, he regularly scored as well as participated in the World and European championships among lawyers. In the early 80-ies of the twentieth century, Alexander Čeferin played for the then third league Grosuplje club and was a partner of Primož Gliha.


Karate helps him relax

He was also involved in basketball and karate. Today he devotes himself to the Japanese martial arts as well. «Karate means a lot to me. At first, I went in for karate in my childhood, but at that time, I had a different attitude to it. Then I tried to learn how to put someone down on his back, how to attack someone. Now I have an individual program with the Japanese Takashi Tokuhiso, and look at the karate in a completely different way. We do breathing exercises and meditate. I enjoy karate more than ever. It really helps me to relax. After the exercise, which I do early in the morning, I can easily work until the evening,” he said in his interview in March 2011when he just started to fulfil his responsibilities as the head of the Slovenian Federation of Football.

“If to make a little step back, I sometimes wonder why I needed all that. Trips take a lot of time, but since I love football, I think I will be able to manage it. My family supports me, and hopefully I will succeed,” Čeferin said.


The cooperation with Zdovc quickly exhausted itself

In the world of basketball, he is best remembered for the fact that he once provided legal services to Matjaž Smodiš during his transition from the Krke Club to the Kinder Club (Bologna) in 2000. “Then the rules were such that the club that sold such a young player abroad was punished with relegation. At that time, the Krka Club through some legal “manoeuvre” first manged to sell Smodiš to the Grosuplje Club, and then the Grosuplje Club sold him to the Kinder Club. The Grosuplje Club anyway performed in the lowest league and later stayed there as well. This fact scary angered the officials of the Basketball Federation, who later had to change the rules for that reason. Boštjan Nachbar moved to the Benetton Club from the Dravograd Club in a similar way, which at that time, did not perform in the professional league.”

Later, Jure Zdovc together with Boštjan Nachbar established a sports agency to protect the interests of basketball players, but later, having not yet signed any contracts, they concluded that it was not their job, and presented the company to Marijan Kraljević.

For more than five years at the head of the Slovenian Federation of Football, he managed to calm down the passions in his dialogue with the national team players, which was far from ideal during the period of his predecessor Simič. He was less successful when selecting the head coach for the national team, because at his cadences, Slaviša Stojanović and Srečko Katanec did not manage to bring Slovenia to the big tournament. The Football Europe admires the National Football Centre in Brdo pri Kranju, for the construction of which the government (Čeferin mentioned this many times) did not allocate a cent. If the public interest in local club competitions is recently growing, then, according to Čeferin, the general attitude of politicians and public officials to football leaves much to be desired. The current legislation is an additional obstacle to the development of this kind of sport. The coming months will show whether there will be any changes, initiated by the Parliament, because now Slovenia has its permanent representative in Nyon.