Platini claims Europe's cup competitions are 'élitist'

Michel Platini says he will abolish the Champions' League if he becomes president of Uefa, the game's European governing body.

The executive committee member of both Uefa and its world governing counterpart, Fifa, said the format of the European competition is too élitist and he advocated a return to a system where countries such as Spain are treated on an equal footing with smaller nations.

"I want only one competition with 256 teams which will face each other according to the knock-out system," the former France midfielder said. "The European cups are just a closed circus. The more matches there are, the more certain it is that big clubs win the competition."

Platini also claims he intends to limit the influence of the G-14 group, made up of the 18 richest European clubs. "We also have to talk with the G-14 clubs, but never should they obtain an official role," he said.

Neil Warnock said yesterday that he will mount a rigorous defence if the Football Association punishes the Sheffield United manager for saying that referee Graham Poll should be "banned" or "punished" following his performance in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal at Old Trafford.

When asked about the FA investigation, Warnock said: "I don't think I've said anything untoward that would warrant a charge. I just told the truth as I saw it. If they do charge me then I'll defend myself rigorously."

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