Michel Platini yet to receive Sir Dave Richards apology

 

UEFA president Michel Platini today said he has yet to receive any apology from Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards after his comments that FIFA and UEFA "stole" football from England.

Richards promised to apologise after making the remarks last week, and league chief executive Richard Scudamore said on Tuesday that the chairman had rung those he may have offended.

But Platini said the apology may have got lost, and the chance of a face-to-face apology was lost when Richards also pulled out of attending UEFA's Congress in Istanbul today.

Platini said: "I read in an English media outlet he was going to send an email - maybe the email got lost in the corridors of UEFA but I never saw it.

"What he said was slightly surprising because I know Mr Richards' ingenuity.

"He said football was stolen from England and that a gang has done this. We are not a gang at UEFA and the English are so generous they have given football to the entire planet.

"Football now belongs to the whole world and I want to thank England for their gift to the world."

Richards had been due in Istanbul to due to sign a contract with UEFA in his capacity as chairman of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL).

The memorandum of understanding between the EPFL and UEFA was instead signed by Sergey Pryadkin, the president of the Russian Premier League.

Platini added: "I don't know the reasons that motivated the president of the EPFL not to come. What was important was to have the contract with the EPFL signed."

Richards make his remarks at a conference in Qatar last week, saying: "For 50 years, we owned the game, we were the governance of the game. We wrote the rules and designed the pitches.

"Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said we like this and they actually stole it. It was called FIFA. Fifty years later, another gang came along called UEFA and stole a bit more."

Scudamore admitted that Richards' comments had damaged the Premier League but added: "At the end of the day, he's apologised, he apologised sincerely, he's rung the people who - if he has offended - he knows he may have offended and he's dealt with it."

Richards became something of an internet sensation when footage of him falling into a fountain pool at the conference was uploaded onto YouTube and received more than 100,000 hits in less than a week.

Meanwhile, Platini said he would back Turkey for Euro 2020 but only if Istanbul loses their bid for the Olympics in the same year. The International Olympic Committee will vote for the 2020 Summer Games host in September next year, ahead of UEFA's decision.

Platini added: "Turkey had a strong bid for Euro 2016 and it will be even stronger in 2020.

"If Istanbul doesn't get the Olympics it will be a strong bid that I will vote for. If Turkey has the Olympic Games, then I will not vote for it. It is not possible to have two competitions in the same place just about the same time."

Turkey lost out to Platini's home country France for 2016 by a single vote. The UEFA president was not allowed to vote but had canvassed for France.

PA

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