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ATHENS, September 14. /TASS/. Slovenian football federation head Aleksander Ceferin was elected on Wednesday new president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Ceferin, 48, beat his only rival, UEFA vice president Michael van Praag, by 42 votes to 13 at an extraordinary UEFA congress. He will succeed Frenchman Michel Platini, who quit his post after being banned from football for four years.
"It’s great honor, but at the same time a great responsibility," Ceferin said after the vote. "It means a lot to me. My family’s very proud about it, my small and beautiful Slovenia is also proud about it and I hope one day you will also be proud of me."
The new president was elected for 2.5 years until the next regular congress of Europe’s governing football body.
According to Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, Alexander Ceferin will boost further the development of Europe’s governing body of football.
"We have been supporting him," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in an interview with TASS. "This was the right decision to elect him."
"I hope that based on the foundations laid out by Platini he will improve UEFA," Mutko added.
Asked when the newly-elected UEFA president would pay a visit to Russia in his new capacity, the Russian football chief said that "he (Ceferin) had already been to Russia on many occasions," and his next visit "is only a matter of time and we will definitely come to an agreement on this issue."
The new UEFA president was elected for the term of two and a half years until the next regular congress of the European governing body of football.
"It’s great honor, but at the same time a great responsibility," Ceferin said after the vote. "It means a lot to me. My family’s very proud about it, my small and beautiful Slovenia is also proud about it and I hope one day you will also be proud of me.".