Platini takes Scottish hand off tiller in Uefa shake-up

Former SFA chief Taylor leaves general secretary's role to head up marketing
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The Independent Football

The Scottish influence at the heart of Uefa – something criticised by Arsène Wenger during the Eduardo da Silva diving case – is set to diminish after an announcement yesterday that general secretary David Taylor is to head the governing body's new marketing company.

Taylor, the former chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, will move to the new Uefa company on 1 October. He will be succeeded by his deputy, Gianni Infantino, an Italian lawyer who has worked for Uefa since 2000 and most recently has steered through plans for financial reforms of European football.

Taylor, who has a business background, was appointed following Michel Platini's successful campaign to become Uefa president in 2007.

Although the Eduardo case is not connected to the announcement, Taylor was earlier this month forced to insist there was no "old pals' act" surrounding Uefa's decision to charge the Arsenal striker with diving against Celtic. The SFA chief executive Gordon Smith had led calls for the player to be banned, leading Wenger to claim there had been "a witch-hunt" with the case being influenced by "Scottish people working at Uefa".

Taylor responded by saying: "It's not all pals together, we're in football and you disagree with people."

Infantino's appointment signals Platini's intent to push ahead with his plans to force clubs in European football to only spend what they earn in revenue.

Uefa also announced they have appointed the former Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene as the first chairman of the newly-created Club Financial Control Panel. The body will be made up of independent financial and legal experts and will conduct audits to ensure clubs are complying with the new rules.

Platini said: "As the first chairman of the Club Financial Control Panel, he will set the standard in this area and in so doing will make history. It was crucial to have this new role handled by a man of his capacity and stature."

The rules, the details of which have still to be confirmed, will see clubs of a certain size obliged to balance their books so they will not be allowed to spend more than the revenue they generate.

The scheme is to be gradually implemented over a three-year period and is expected to be fully in force by season 2012-13.

Meanwhile, England should be among the top seeds for the draw for the qualifying tournament for Euro 2012 to be held in Warsaw on 7 February next year.

The qualifying competition will consist of nine groups – six of six teams and three groups of five teams. The nine group winners and the best runner-up will qualify directly with the eight remaining runners-up contesting play-offs.

Seeding will be based on Uefa's national team rankings which look at the records in the qualifying tournaments for the last five World Cups and European Championships.

England's 100 per cent record so far in World Cup qualifying for next year's tournament under Fabio Capello should ensure them a place among the top seeds.