UEFA boss Ceferin hits out on VAR: "Nobody understands anything"
The UEFA president spoke with media about the new Champions League format, potential bans on the clubs that tried to split from UEFA, and VAR
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin spoke with French newspaper L'Equipe today, after the European confederation announced major modifications to the format of their star club competition, the Champions League.
Ceferin, who holds the position since 2016 when a corruption scandal forced the resignation of his predecessor, former French star Michel Platini, was the lead figure when the world of football had to face the 12 clubs that intended to break away and form the Super League.
"It's possible to punish any club", he said about the potential to ban Real Madrid, who could be lifting their 14th Champions League trophy later this year. "The rules are the same for everyone. And if I was to comment on what people say every day... They also complain that UEFA earns billions, but 93.5% of revenue goes to clubs. How can you explain that if no one is listening? You can choose to believe me or not, but we treat all clubs in the same way, whether they be from Slovenia, my country, or from the big names in European football. It's the UEFA disciplinary commission, which is independent, who will have to decide".
On the matter of the new Champions League format, which proved controversial when first announced and only passed yesterday with important modifications, Ceferin was fairly clear: "Just because something is working well doesn't mean it shouldn't be changed. You always have to keep improving. There will be an extra four spots. One of those is going to France, which makes sense. Believe me, it's not made for the big clubs. They are assured of qualifying".
The biggest change, apart from the removal of two "legacy" spots, was the reduction of group stage matches from 10 to 8. Ceferin explained UEFA's reasoning: "10 matches was too much. And with 8 matches, teams will play the same amount of games home and away. It's preferable in a sporting way. I'll say it again, I don't mind changing my view". "We simply realised that in order to maintain our model, we have to give up on giving two spots in this manner. I have no problem with admitting that our first idea wasn't the right one. We are stronger when we accept changing our initial errors. I am now absolutely convinced that it was a bad option", he added later. "If I wasn't sure [people would enjoy this new format], I wouldn't have done it. It will be far more interesting. In the current format, with the group stages, you know which clubs are going to qualify after two or three games. From 2024 it won't be as easy, even for the ‘big' clubs".
Ceferin spoke as well against some of the recent changes to the laws of the game, which he thinks are making thins more complicated. "The fact that there can be an offside by five millimetres is still an issue for me. You are penalised if you have a big nose or big feet... and I have a problem with handballs. Nobody understands anything anymore. It should be clarified. Figo told me the other day that if he was playing these days, if he didn't know what to do with the ball, he would shoot at the defender's hands".