Uefa president Michel Platini clearly has a huge problem with the success currently being enjoyed by the English Premier League. He has accused Chelsea and Manchester United of 'cheating' to reach the Champions League final because they borrowed money to fund their teams-building.
Frenchman Platini, 52, claims England,. the founders of the game, do
not deserve to be involved in Uefa's Euro 2008 tournament which starts
today in Switzerland.
"The fact that England are not at Euro 2008 means nothing to me," he
was quoted in The Mirror as saying. "All they had to do was qualify.
"I don't want to say that we will miss England. It would be saying the
Croats are rubbish. If England cannot finish in the top two of a group
of six teams, that is their problem.
"Club football has got nothing to do with national teams. Apart from
Italy and Germany a little, the winners or finalists of the last World
Cups are countries who export their players."
And he went on to reiterate concern that the financial strength of the
Barclays Premier League, with its wealthy club owners such as Roman
Abramovich and the Glazers, needs to be curbed to prevent its clubs
using to debt to fund transfers and players' wages.
"In England the passion is exceptional and hooliganism has been beaten
but for everything else, something has to be done," said Platini. "I am
very disturbed by foreigners buying up English clubs.
"I can't see why Americans invest in these clubs unless it is to make
money. It is a constant money chase which has seen this proposal to
play a 39th game abroad.
"The objective is no longer to win titles but to make the money to
repay debts. Look at the overdrafts of Chelsea and Manchester United.
Fifa and Uefa owe it to themselves to fight this. Because nowadays it
is the clubs who cheat who are winning."
Platini has an ally in Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who is also criticising English clubs' recruitment of foreign players.
The Barclays Premier League has not yet commented on that latest
sniping from the two governing bodies, which some see as smacking of
jealousy, although the criticism is hardly likely to support the
English FA's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Mark Hinton, Goal.com