Platini attacks 'cheats' United and Chelsea

Michel Platini, the Uefa president and most powerful man in European football, has launched an extraordinary attack on British football, accusing heavily indebted Chelsea and Manchester United of being "cheats" who win tournaments on the back of their debt.

Speaking on the eve of the Euro 2008 tournament, Platini said that England's absence from it is in no way detrimental to the competition and a product of the direction the Premier League has taken

That league more than any other domestic division, he said, has succumbed to a win-at-all-costs mentality in which success is imperative "not to win titles, but to pay back debts". This, Platini told L'Equipe, must now be dealt with.

He singled out Chelsea and United – collective debt £1.5bn – for criticism. "It is a never-ending search for money, leading to the proposal of a 39th fixture abroad," Platini said. "Look at Chelsea and Manchester United's debt. Fifa and Uefa have to do something to combat that, because today the ones who cheat are going on to win. Is Champions League success built around who has the most money? I think so. It is run on credit now and it annoys me. We have to find ways to help other clubs sort out their problems. Defeat must no longer mean financial disaster. We have to find the means, together with the European Club Association, to help clubs sort out their financial problems."

Platini was asked if England would be missed. "What does England's absence mean to me? Nothing," he said. "They had only to qualify on the pitch. I do not wish to say that we miss England. That would mean, moreover, that the Croats are worthless. If England are not capable of finishing in the first two teams from a group of six, that is their problem.

"Their clubs have done well in the Champions League, but club football has nothing to do with the international game."

Platini's attack infuriated those present at a meeting of the 20 Premier League club chairmen and chief executives in Leicestershire, according to reports. They delivered a "no comment" response but Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, and David Gill, his counterpart at United, are said to be furious.

The clubs' foreign owners may feel the same. Platini said of them: "I am very concerned by clubs being bought by foreigners. I don't see why Americans come to invest in these clubs, if not to turn them into products. It's a never-ending gold rush."

* The Football Association chairman, Lord Triesman, wants to turn the FA Cup into a breeding ground for English talent. To allay concerns that the flow of English youngsters is drying up due to an influx of foreign players, Triesman is ready to begin drawing up plans to increase the number of Britons involved in the FA's flagship tournament.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral