Why Michel Platini Should Mind His Words and Manners:
It was only a few short months ago that I offered my opinion on the strange mind that infests the body of Sepp Blatter.
Well now his little French friend Michel Platini has made his own self-aggrandising, arrogant and very Gallic thoughts known—again!
In short, Michel seems himself as the saviour of European football, if not world soccer.
He wants to draw as much power and decision making into the UEFA as he possibly can.
The logic is that he wants to make football fairer, giving all clubs a level playing field (pardon the pun).
He wants to start by limiting what clubs can have as "soft loans" so that mega wealthy owners cannot bankroll clubs in a manner that seems so, well so Anglo Saxon.
So he will limit what can be "loaned" to a club by its owners and they will have to survive on what they "earn".
Sorry Michel there's a flaw in that plan which makes it unworkable.
If I were Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City I would simply sign a massive sponsorship deal of say, £200m a year from one of the state owned Abu Dhabi companies.
I could also charge £1m a year for an executive box seat and they are bought by friends and family.
It doesn't take a genius to get around that one, sorry Michel.
So Mr Platini will have to be more controlling in what he does.
Salary cap, now that's not gonna fly is it? Players wont like the inevitable limitations on their earning potential.
Not only that but owners may think that they will earn from it but they will soon realise that a salary cap means Europe will see fewer Brazilian, African, and Asian players playing in its leagues as there wont be the demand for it.
Once we limit the players who play, then TV revenues will diminish.
So the owners are likely to say no to any reasonable salary cap. And if it's not reasonable it's a pointless exercise.
What then about the clubs who dont own the grounds at which they play. Surely that is a form of state subsidy?
If they don't have to build and maintain the grounds then they have more money, year on year to invest in players, so do we limit those relationships?
Smaller clubs across Europe are now involved with, or want to be involved with English clubs as feeder clubs, in order to earn from the wealthiest league in the world. So they wont be best pleased by changes that mean those relationships wither on the vine.
So the threat will no doubt be made by Platini that something has to be done and I think it will, but when he seeks re-election he may be surprised to find that people opt for the status quo and back a safer candidate.
There are also long memories when it comes to inequality in punishments laid down by UEFA over the years.
When English clubs were struggling to contain hooligan fans and the disastrous and deeply sad deaths occurred at Heysel, all English clubs were banned from Europe.
When Everton, a club with no history of violence qualified for Europe they were not allowed to take their place—basically because other clubs' fans had misbehaved!
More recently when racism repeatedly makes an impact in Europe the penalties passed down do not match English expectations.
For English clubs this is totally unacceptable as we have a zero tolerance to such chanting and abuse.
It seems acceptable for club coaches, national coaches, and chairmen in Europe to call black players monkeys or worse. That is not acceptable to the majority of football fans in Europe and yet little is done.
So Mr Platini may offer his warped views on football but he simply wont be able to create UEFA in his own image as the power does not lie with him but with the money.
Chairmen, broadcasters and fans like the product as it is and even if it has its flaws it wont be as saleable if it changes.
Personally I preferred it when the Euopean Cup was for the champions of each league only, it had more worth then.
So the first step into making money less important in the game would be for the Champions Leageu to offer very much less in TV revenue and prize money, keep that money in the game for grass roots development.
Ahhh—but then UEFA would have little left in its locker in order to control the big clubs.
So money does talk but it should only be allowed to do so if it's with Michel's voice.
Funny that isnt it?
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