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Aleksander Ceferin elected UEFA president, succeeds Michel Platini

Aleksander Ceferin has been elected the new president of UEFA, beating Michael van Praag in the race to succeed Michel Platini.

Ceferin, who was appointed president of the Slovenian FA in 2011 and has a background in law, won 42 of the 55 votes at the Extraordinary UEFA Congress in Athens on Wednesday.

"My small and beautiful Slovenia is very proud about it and I hope one day you will also be very proud of me," Ceferin told UEFA delegates.

"Some people may have said that I am not a leader, that I am too young and too inexperienced to become the next UEFA president.

"It's not because you repeat again and again, loud and clear, 'I am a leader' that you are a leader. If you have to do it you are probably not a leader.

"You can say that I am young and experienced but I honestly think it disrespectful for all small and medium-sized federations who, 365 days a year, have to do more with less."

He replaces the banned Platini, who was found guilty of ethics violations in December for taking a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2m) from FIFA in 2011.

Last week, acting UEFA president Angel Maria Villar withdrew from the contest to succeed Platini on a permanent basis, leaving Ceferin and Dutch Football Association president Van Praag in the race for the role.

Aleksander Ceferin was appointed president of the Slovenian FA in 2011.

Van Praag said: "I'm standing here on this stage because I've lost and that's why I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate a winner. The man who beat me in the race for the presidency of UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin. The man who managed to persuade a majority of his plans and his talents.

"Democratically chosen, he will lead UEFA into the future. I would like to congratulate Aleksander and UEFA warmly, so please give it up for both of them.

"Losing is never fun, but it's a fact that you need to take well. After all, losing is part of sport. I can handle it, but it does hurt a little right now. But I promise you and I promise Aleksander that I will support him wholeheartedly. I look forward to working with him as the new president."

Speaking to ESPN FC this week, Ceferin outlined the three main things he would change about how European football is run.

He said: "First and foremost, I will look to change to the UEFA statutes to include term-mandate limitations for the president and UEFA executive committee.

"I don't believe that officials serving for 20 or more years in such key positions is healthy for any organisation. I would put more emphasis on battling match fixing, which is a disease on our sport, by introducing more security and integrity.

"Thirdly, I would change the bidding process for big competitions and finals for the Champions League, European Championship and other major events. This needs to become completely transparent."

Earlier on Wednesday, Platini declared he has a "clear conscience" while bidding farewell to European football leaders before they elected his successor as UEFA president.

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