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Changes Afoot as the Platini Era Begins

  • BBC Sport, Friday, January 26, 2007 3:07 PM
After a few words of thanks and an expression of gratitude for Lennart Johansson's work over the years, new UEFA president Michel Platini wasted no time underlining the goals of his presidency. Among them are, reconciling soccer's "special" status in European law, further developing UEFA competitions, including the Intertoto Cup, as well as youth and women's championships, combating racism and discrimination in all its forms, reducing the number of Champions League positions per country to three, and "correcting inequalities and establishing equal opportunities."

These last two items are particularly controversial. Europe's big clubs will obviously dispute the Champions League measure, but the last statement, taken verbatim from the BBC story, could also be interpreted as an affront to foreign investment in big European clubs. Indeed, Platini is thought to support measures limiting clubs like Chelsea, which has lost millions since Roman Abramovich took over, to spending only what's directly proportional to what they earn on player's salaries. Said BBC sports editor Mihir Bose: "[Platini] is a populist - within minutes of his election he showed glimpses of a populism that wouldn't have disgraced Tony Blair." He added that Platini is proposing that player salaries be no more than "something like 50-60% of turnover," which the new president insists is "not a salary cap".

Read the whole story at BBC Sport »

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