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Platini calls for 'financial fair play'

Michel Platini today told sports ministers that Uefa need the power to introduce rules on finances for clubs in their European competitions.

The Uefa president said the game's European ruling body had no intention of interfering with rules for domestic leagues but wanted to ensure "financial fair play" in their own competitions such as the Champions League and Uefa Cup.

If such a move was agreed it could eventually mean that clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool who regularly qualify for the Champions Leagues having to satisfy Uefa rules on debts and even how much they spend on wages.

Britain's sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, in Biarritz to hear Platini's speech, and the Premier League are fiercely opposing the proposals.

Platini said: "What Uefa can do - and we are thinking seriously about doing it - is to reinforce and improve our system for granting licences for our own club competitions.

"It is in this way that we wish to contribute to financial fair play, and start responding to the expectations of the various parties involved in our sport."

He added: "Fiscal rules in Europe are extremely diverse...and the systems of licensing, control and financial management of football clubs involve a myriad of concepts and different regulations.

"Uefa is not going to charge itself with the task of harmonising European fiscal issues.

"Uefa is not going to impose its licensing system on national associations for their own competitions," Platini told the ministers.

Platini also called for a halt to the trafficking of young footballers, and a ban on transfers of players under the age of 18 - the Premier League also opposes the latter proposal.

Platini said: "Today, in the world and in Europe, there is trafficking of children. I will not mince my words because the situation is serious.

"What else do you call a phenomenon whereby children aged 12 or 13 are torn away from their environment and culture to join a business in return for payment? This is what is happening in football.

"Together with Fifa, we are studying remedies, but measures can already be taken to ban the international transfer of minors, even within the European Union.

"In numerous European states, strict rules exist which prevent clubs - on threat of sporting sanctions - poaching [young players] from their rivals' training centres. However, these rules do not exist at European Union level.

"It is in this context that we would like to be able to ban international transfers of players under the age of 18 within the EU.

"This is not to create an obstacle to the free movement of labour - it is an urgent matter relating to helping youngsters in danger."

Platini also argued that sport should be treated as a specific entity and not the same as business.