Platini backs Blanc for top job as France try to plan ahead

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The Independent Football

The Uefa president Michel Platini believes Laurent Blanc should be the next France coach, although he admits he has little influence on the decision.

The France Football Federation meet on May 20 when it is widely expected they will decide who will replace Raymond Domenech after the World Cup. Blanc heads a shortlist which also includes Didier Deschamps, Jean Tigana and current assistant coach Alain Boghossian and Platini has given his backing to the Bordeaux coach.

"Laurent Blanc, that would be a good choice," said Platini. "But it is the federal council who will choose, not me. It's good that the transition is going smoothly. That will not disturb neither the players nor Raymond. Just the opposite, the players will want to make a good impression around the new coach."

Platini said last week he believed France would progress through the group stage but would not win the tournament. He was less harsh with his criticism yesterday and insists Les Bleus can start afresh after a disappointing qualifying campaign. However, Platini has urged the players to step up a gear in South Africa. "The World Cup has nothing to do with the qualifiers," he added. "We're starting again from zero. The players will be good, they will prepare themselves. Looking at the number of players who have rested during the year, the France team will be very good at the World Cup but they are not the best in the world. Now, they have to make the supporters dream a bit."

Platini has also criticised what he calls the "liberalism" in Premier League financial regulations which he claims led to Portsmouth going into administration. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the club, who last week reported debts of £119million, had got into the position they were in through "rank bad management".

But Platini argues that greater checks and balances should have been in place. He said: "I'm not an expert of finance, but it was easy to understand that clubs like Portsmouth would be in big danger of going bankrupt and going down. We have to protect them. Why was this club winning [the FA Cup in 2008] with losses of £50million?"