Zvonimir Boban, the now former chief of football at UEFA, has departed his role due to continued tensions within the organization. Boban was previously a dynamic midfielder for Dinamo Zagreb, AC Milan, and the Croatia national team. After retiring from the pitch, he completed a university degree and moved on to sports journalism.

However, Boban was eventually hired by FIFA to become their deputy secretary-general in 2016. The former soccer star played an instrumental part in introducing video technology to the sport. He was a key player in the implementation of VAR at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. This was the first tournament of its kind to feature the technology.

After stepping down from his position in 2019, Boban then went on to work behind the scenes at Milan. Nevertheless, a public rift between the former star and the club’s CEO Ivan Gazidis resulted in Boban’s departure from the Serie A side. He subsequently became UEFA’s first-ever chief of football in 2021. The governing body created the position solely for Boban.

UEFA boss wants to bend term limit laws

A key reason for Boban’s sudden departure from UEFA comes down to potential rule changes within the organization. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is to be in favor of bending term limit rules. Current stipulations, that Ceferin himself proposed, say that officials cannot remain in office for more than 12 years.

Nevertheless, Boban is under the impression that Ceferin wants to alter these laws to continue in the prestigious position. Ceferin previously assumed office in 2016, but wants to run for office again when his term is up in 2027.

After making his decision, Boban issued a statement to Croatian newspaper Telegram.

“I talked to UEFA’s president about a problem that occurred during the last meeting of the executive committee in Hamburg – the proposal to change UEFA’s statute in order to enable Ceferin’s new candidacy after his final mandate runs out,” stated Boban.

“After expressing my deepest concern and complete disagreement with the proposal itself, the president answered that he sees no legal or moral-ethical problem in it – and that he will, without any doubt, proceed with this idea that I find fatal.”

UEFA, however, denied Boban’s claims in an official statement on the issue. “The proposed change is to simply clarify the position established in the statutes with regard to preserving the accepted legal principle that retroactivity should not apply,” claimed the organization.

Boban certainly has a history of voicing his opinions regarding his employers. Along with the aforementioned Milan issue, the exec also previously criticized FIFA after leaving in 2019. Boban disagreed with the governing body’s previous assertion to stage the World Cup every two years.

Discontent at UEFA high as Zvonimir Boban departs

News of the discontent between two top UEFA officials comes as the European Super League (ESL) threatens the organization’s power. The potential breakaway league attempted to form in 2021 to no avail. Nevertheless, Barcelona and Real Madrid remain committed to the division as an alternative to UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League.

A European court recently determined that UEFA, and FIFA, abused their powers in trying to block the ESL from forming. The governing bodies also, according to the court, acted unlawfully by threatening sanctions against clubs joining the new league.

An ESL official has since claimed that 20 teams are ready to break away from the governing body to join their division. However, it is still unlikely that many of the top European teams will soon leave UEFA. Many soccer fans across the globe are not currently for the formation of the ESL.