Government told to resist Uefa plans
Proposals for financial curbs will hit English clubs, warns Premier League
Tuesday 25 November 2008
The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, has called on the government to reject Michel Platini's proposals to hand Uefa huge power over European domestic leagues, which would enable the body, among other things, to prevent clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City benefiting from the wealth of their owners.
Scudamore was scathing about the proposals put forward by Uefa's president Platini and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, which will be debated at a meeting of sports ministers from across Europe in Biarritz tomorrow.
The Premier League believes the French are using their EU presidency to attack the pre-eminence of English football, which Platini has railed against for some time.
"We have arrived at the ironic situation of feeling relief when Chelsea lost 3-1 to Roma in the Champions League, taking into account the current political climate," Scudamore said.
"There is no doubt some envy of the success of English clubs exists, but all the clubs that gain access to the Champions League are based on the free-market model of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, that behind them have a company, corporation or personal fortune. It all goes in cycles. Only a while ago we had two Italian teams or two Spanish in a European final.
"If it's about fairness and balance, then the French league is interesting with the same champions, in Lyons, seven years in a row. Actually, a lot of the clubs can't get out of their financial straitjackets and they can't actually alter that natural order ... in England it's quite difficult to break into that top four, but in other leagues it's difficult to break into that top one or top two.
The changes the French are proposing would have a huge effect on English football. If they were to be ratified, Uefa would be able to stop clubs spending beyond what the French describe as their "natural resources".
This means that owners such as City's Sheikh Mansour or Chelsea's Roman Abramovich, as well as Dave Whelan at Wigan and Steve Gibson at Middlesbrough, would be prevented from investing in their clubs. Uefa would control fixture calendars and would also stop all footballers under 18 moving from their home country.
The Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, has assured the Premier League – as well as the RFU, which is also opposed – that he will not be signing up to the agreement, which is being driven by Bernard Laporte, the former France rugby union coach and now his country's sports minister, and Platini.
A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We would not support the creation of European Union-wide authorities that supersede national authorities."
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