Zvonimir Boban has stepped down from his position as the head of football at Uefa due to a proposed amendment to the organization’s rules which would permit the president, Aleksander Ceferin, to serve more than three terms.
In 2017, Ceferin put forth a reform package that included a rule limiting the president and executive committee members to 12 years of service. Boban suspects that Ceferin plans to run for reelection after his third term ends in 2027.
Boban, a highly honored ex-midfielder for Milan and Croatia, penned a public statement, which was released by Croatian news source Telegram on Thursday. In the letter, he discussed discussing with the president of Uefa about a issue that arose during the recent executive committee meeting in Hamburg – the suggestion to modify Uefa’s regulations in order for Ceferin to run for another term after his current one ends.
“I voiced my utmost concern and strong opposition to the proposal, but the president responded that he doesn’t see any legal or moral-ethical issues with it. He assured that he will definitely move forward with this idea, which I find disastrous.”
In 2021, Boban became a member of Uefa. He stated, “I am aware that nothing is perfect, including myself. I understand that compromises are often necessary, but I cannot accept a decision that goes against my beliefs and values. I am not claiming to be a hero, but I know that others share my opinion. It may be considered naive, but it is the right thing to do.”
During the past three years, I had a great working relationship with Aleksander and my colleagues at Uefa. I am grateful for their support and I wish them the best. I am saddened to say that I will be leaving Uefa.
Uefa has announced that Zvonimir Boban will be leaving the organisation through mutual agreement. Boban, who served as the chief of football since 2021, oversaw various important initiatives in technical development such as the creation of the Uefa football board and the youth football forum.
In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, Ceferin stated that he has not made a decision about running for another term. He expressed, “To be completely honest, I am feeling quite exhausted.”
He took over from Michel Platini when the former France international left part way through a term and is understood to feel that his first three years in office – completing Platini’s mandate through to 2019 – need not count against his term limit of 12 years.
Boban had previously expressed disapproval of Fifa’s proposal to host the World Cup every two years. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, he stated that this plan would have negative consequences for players, leagues, clubs, and the overall appeal of competitions. He believes it shows a lack of respect and could potentially harm the institutions and pyramid structure of football that has been built over many years. He also mentioned that Uefa would never suggest a biennial Euro tournament, even if it meant more financial gain.
Boban was a highly skilled midfielder who was part of both the Yugoslavian and Croatian national teams. He helped Croatia place third in the 1998 World Cup. Throughout his impressive career, he only played for four clubs, including Dinamo Zagreb and Milan. With Milan, he earned four Serie A titles and one Champions League title. He also briefly played for Bari and Celta Vigo.