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Platini ‘afraid’ over financial strife

Calls for global reflection on professional game

UEFA president Michel Platini (right) with Lionel Messi who last week was voted best player in Europe for 2010-11.

UEFA president Michel Platini (right) with Lionel Messi who last week was voted best player in Europe for 2010-11.

UEFA president Michel Platini called for “global reflection” on the financial problems facing football.

“My message for football is alarmist: red lights are flashing, we cannot live with billions of euros of deficits without paying the consequences one day or another,” he said during a press conference in Monaco on Friday.

“You can see it at the moment: players are not paid, transfer fees are not paid. We have to get around a table, and not just UEFA – it has to be a global reflection on professional football.

“I’m not very reassured by what’s happening (player strikes in Spain and Italy). I’m afraid for our football, that things go badly for some people. Normally I have a good sense for these things, so we need some very serious reflection on this subject.”

UEFA’s financial fair play rules, obliging clubs to break even, come into effect this season but Platini, who pioneered the initiative, admitted that it would not be a cure for all of European football’s ills.

“Financial fair play will only affect clubs involved in UEFA’s European competitions, some of the big clubs, but sooner or later we’ll have to address the situation for the national competitions, because some leagues are not in control of their finances,” he said.

Platini, re-elected as head of European football’s governing body in March this year, refused to answer questions on whether he intends to run for FIFA president when Sepp Blatter steps down in 2015.

He did, however, address concerns about corruption in the organisation, following former Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam’s life ban for trying to buy votes in the presidential election.

“FIFA has had a difficult year,” said Platini.

“Election years are always difficult for institutions and it was a bit tiring for me as lots of people were putting pressure on me to stand. Mohamed bin Hammam actually asked me to stand against Blatter.

“But last year was a great season for football, with a dream Cham-pions League final (between Manchester United and Barcelona) in a magnificent setting (Wembley), which was a breath of fresh air at a time when there were all these problems at FIFA.

“The FIFA president, Joseph Blatter, has announced that he’ll make changes to the way FIFA is run.

“The next (FIFA) executive committee meeting is in October, and we’ll see president Blatter’s proposals then.”

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