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Platini warns rich clubs against overspending

Goal.com
Feb 19, 2009 at 03:56pm IST

New Delhi: The chief of European football has warned against the effects of treating football as a casino for billionaire businessmen.

UEFA president Michel Platini has warned the biggest clubs of the potential pitfalls overspending can have on the game.

The chief is concerned that the divide between rich and poor clubs could be detrimental to the development of European football and he is demanding a financial balance.

THE BOSS: UEFA President Michel Platini smiles as he explains his vision on European football in Brussels.

High player wages, under-18 transfers and excessive spending by the richest clubs were all on the Frenchman's agenda. Platini was speaking to the European Parliament in Brussels and voiced his plans to make the game fairer for all involved.

"Football extends beyond borders, football irons out differences, and football unleashes passions," Platini told UEFA.com.

"Football, the sport that has brought me to where I am today and has given me the greatest emotions of my life, both positive and traumatic, is in danger ... the values that football represents are in danger."

The chief has reminded everyone that football brings people together and it should not be seen only as a commercial gold mine for billionaires.

"There is still a slightly perverse tendency within the European institutions to deny the unity of the football pyramid and to isolate the professional game at the top," added Platini.

"And this is done in order to give substance to the false notion that professional football is an economic activity just like any other.

"Unfortunately, this refusal to recognise the specificity of sport ... still exists in certain circles, in certain sectors, which consider competition law to be the fundamental law of Europe.

"We refuse categorically to be held in a straitjacket or tied to prefabricated models that are based on the false equation that professional sport equals a purely economic activity."

Platini has warned cash rich clubs to curb excess spending and he will be implementing plans to bring them in line with UEFA standards.

"The European model of sport is based on open leagues, independent clubs and promotion and relegation,"Platini explained.

"One thing is certain - European clubs are currently telling us that our system is in danger of financially imploding in the medium term. In consultation with them, but also ... spurred on by the reports of this Parliament, we are currently looking at the idea of limiting, to a certain degree, a club's expenditure on staff – salary and transfer fees combined – to an as yet undecided percentage of its direct and indirect sporting revenue."

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