Zvonimir Boban to Become First-Ever UEFA Head of Football

Daniela Rogulj

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Jutarnji List reports that on Tuesday, April 20, Zvonimir Boban will officially become the head of football, or ‘chief of UEFA football!’ With the great desire and concrete action of President Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA will thus get the first football boss in history. The fact that he is a former great footballer gives this decision a special dimension.

There is no doubt that this is another huge recognition for Boban (53) after he held an almost identical position in FIFA from March 2016 to the summer of 2019. Recall, he worked as the right hand of President Gianni Infantino.

The Slovenian lawyer became the head of UEFA in 2016, and on many occasions, he cooperated and held contacts with FIFA, i.e., Zvonimir Boban. When Boban was with Infantino at FIFA, great reforms began, of which the epochal one was the introduction of VAR. Everyone in football institutions knows that Zvone Boban was the main promoter of introducing the technology as an assistant to referees. He personally supervised it to the maximum and demonstrated its importance for football at the World Cup in Russia. VAR was only one and the most significant reform; others are related to the game rules, restoring credibility to FIFA after years of scandals, and more.

In the summer of 2019, Boban responded to the invitation of AC Milan, the club in which he gained worldwide recognition as a player and one of the most trophy-winning foreigners in history, and took on the role of head of the football sector. Together with Paolo Maldini, he got down to business. Through many problems in the club’s selection policy, he managed to stabilize Milan, and with the new coach Stefan Pioli, put together a new team.

But with his views, which he intended to restore the former splendor and credibility of the great Milan, he encountered resistance from American owners, too concentrated on running the club as a company and on the cusp of a financial business. Aware that they were working behind his back by secretly arranging other coaches and players and denying the agreed budget to strengthen the team, Boban spoke publicly about it. This provoked a reaction from the club’s owners, and the cooperation was terminated after only nine months. Due to illegal actions in the unilateral termination of the contract, the Milan court ruled in favor of Boban, who also sued the club and ordered AC Milan to pay him the entire contract and compensation, which is a total of just over 5 million euro.

After that, aware of all the values Boban has as a charismatic football man, with experience in leading the world football organization, evident and consistent attitudes, and sufficiently diplomatic when compromises are necessary for the general football interest, Ceferin called on him to join UEFA.

In 2019, the Slovenian received a new mandate as the president of UEFA until 2023. The European Football House is facing major reforms in club competitions, challenges of new times, pandemic restrictions and adjustments, and many new epochal situations. Ceferin showed wisdom when he decided to strengthen his team.

Boban is tailored to the duty of the head of all football issues, and that is directly Ceferin’s decision. Boban will be part of the President’s Office, with great powers and responsibilities, as was the case at FIFA. Croatia will now have a new UEFA government and Executive Committee member Davor Šuker, and now and another representative, Boban, the head of football.

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