NYON: New UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has indicated that he has already been won over by the European federation’s commercial interests in suggesting that the Champions League final might one day be staged elsewhere in the world.

The Slovene, who succeeded banned and disgraced Michel Platini last month, commented in an interview with AP that he planned to open up the right to stage the final to a bidding process and would not rule out it being staged in the United States.

Ceferin said: “I think it might be an idea in future but we have to speak about it. To go from Portugal to Azerbaijan, for example, is almost the same as if you go to New York. For the fans it’s no problem but we should see. It’s a European competition so let’s think about it.

“We should think also about other markets but how to do it exactly I’m not sure yet. China is financially interesting and the US is not just financially interesting but football is growing there.

“There are some ideas about that because then China is not asleep because it’s Saturday and they can watch.

“But there are many problems concerning that with the calendar of the leagues. National leagues are too important. You have the Premier League which is very strong. It’s an idea but it’s too early to say anything concrete on it.”

New deal

Ceferin sidestepped earlier suggestions that he wanted to unpick the controversial new deal between the elite clubs and UEFA said he was also awaiting more information about proposals put before world federation FIFA for an expansion of the World Cup.

Now a vice-president of FIFA, Ceferin was at the FIFA Council meeting last week which reviewed initial ideas concerning the future ‘look’ of the World Cup.

He said, after the manner of all previous UEFA presidents, that he would defend the number of slots awarded to European teams. Thirteen teams qualify for the World Cup the continent and Ceferin believes “fans in North America and Asia prefer to watch our teams”.