Article trouvé sur le site du Financial Times, Platini se déclare contre la marchandisation du football "it's not a product", annonce également la mise en place d'un organisme pour gérer le problème de violence à l'échelle européenne (mais sans plus de précision).
Platini: ‘We need to go where football has to go’
Published: May 20 2007 22:04 | Last updated: May 20 2007 22:04
Michel Platini, president of European football’s governing body Uefa, tells the FT’s Leisure Correspondent, Roger Blitz, how he plans to give power back to the sport’s national associations.
Roger Blitz: You are introducing reforms to the structure of Uefa at your congress in Zurich at the end of this month. What are the aims?
Michel Platini: To give power back to the national associations. The idea was to give more professionalism to the administration. There was a politicisation in Uefa’s administration. When I campaigned, the first thing national associations said was they had no contact with the president.
RB: Is it going to slow down decision-making?
MP: Yes, but it will take into account everyone’s point of view. The ownership of Uefa is with the national associations, not the chief executive.
RB: How are you going to change in philosophy and direction?
MP: The most important thing for me is to share the ideology with the “families” of football, to share the philosophy. There is one “football” in which we are all together. I knew that as a player – it was not a problem to share the philosophy.
We need to go not where the clubs want or the leagues want or the national associations want. We need to go where football has to go. The interests of all the families are totally different. It’s logical that after 100 years people recognise the players, the clubs and the leagues. Uefa for me was not an open house, it was an enclosed system, afraid of everybody, the players, the clubs, the leagues. The shutters were down.
RB: Are you a consensus-builder or do you want to direct the organisation?
MP: I have to have my own ideas, but if I want to be a political player I have to share my view. Five or six years ago I thought it would be better for the Champions League to be organised as a seeded knockout tournament with 200 teams and to give the TV rights to the clubs. No-one was happy with that. I was very surprised. OK, I said, I would come back, but I always want to provide balance to the Champions League.
RB: What do the national associations tell you are their priorities?
MP: We need to have a deal with all the families and not have our problems in front of tribunals or courts in Brussels. Everybody is afraid of that. We don’t know where we can go with that. The national associations are afraid of the Charleroi case which says a player can leave a national association. They are afraid, not just in England, but Georgia, France, even Brazil. [Royal Charleroi, a Belgian club, is claiming regulations that obliged it to release one of its players for an international match constitute an abuse of Fifa’s dominant position under EU competition law.]
But we need on the other side to give the clubs the opportunity to defend their interests. I was the first say 10 years ago, why don’t we give an assurance to the clubs when the player leaves to play for the national team. But we must not give them a fee to compensate the club to release the player. We are working on the insurance issue with the clubs.
RB: You met some of the other heads of team sports in March. Are you becoming the champion of all the sports affected by challenges to their authority in the courts?
MP: Yes, football is the champion. We want to do something, we want to be a friendly group, but not in an official way. It is not an official lobbying group.
RB: How confident are you that the European commissioners will express your point of view when they draw up their white paper on sport?
MP: I am not confident. I hope they will listen to the world of sport. It depends on which plans they will have for sport. I am very afraid of the bad decisions they will take for the future of sport. It’s an important moment, and I hope they will understand what people want for the future of sport. It’s sport, it is not a product. It is part of our life. If they go this way, I will be very confident. If they say it is a product, it is the end of our sport.
RB: That’s quite a pessimistic viewpoint.
MP: I speak about the white paper. I am not so confident about what they will say.
RB: But you say this is a very important moment –
MP: I say they need to listen to what people in sport are saying – Fifa, Uefa, the national associations, the ministers of sport, the member states and the European Parliament and the European Council.
RB: Are you talking to heads of government?
MP: I haven’t spoken to them for the moment.
[The commissioners] need to listen to what are the governing bodies of sport. If it is a totally different result, we will fight. They lost the constitution vote in France because there is no social issue in the constitution. Sport is social.
RB: You met [European Commission President, Manuel] Barroso in March. Was that productive?
MP: He agrees totally with what I say. But I met him in a bad moment, in the middle of the football violence in Italy, and I spoke about the ideas that I have for an organisation to control the violence and corruption in football. The European Commission, Europol, the Council of Europe will be involved. We have to go pragmatically, but it is obligatory on us.
RB: What did Mr Barrosso say about his view on the white paper?
MP: We didn’t speak about it. I am a politician for three months. I need to know how to open the gates to convince [the commissioners] to go the same way that we think that is good for sport. I am not an expert but I will learn.
RB: With Charleroi in the appeals court, what outcome are you expecting?
MP: We never know what a judge will decide is the future in sport. I hope he will make a good decision. We have a dialogue about Charleroi with the G-14 clubs, the big clubs, and the big clubs are coming on to Uefa strategic committee.
RB: West Ham’s Tevez case, how should that be resolved? [English Premier League club West Ham United were fined £5.5m for breaching ownership rules over Argentinian players Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. Some rival clubs argue West Ham should have had points deducted.]
MP: That is for Fifa to decide. It is not easy because the [contract] systems are totally different all over the world. Sometimes the players belong to agents, to companies, not to clubs. And it’s very complicated. We need to regulate that in Fifa, but it’s not so easy. The transfer system is Fifa’s. We need to have a logical and uniform system all over the world. I am against a club loaning a player to another club in the same league. It is not correct. If [the players] go in front of the court they will win. We need to stop clubs sharing the fee of a player with a club or an agent, but in the rest of the world it’s totally possible. I hope to have one system, but it’s not easy.
RB: Has the Premier League shown other leagues the way ahead here, by having rules banning third-party owners?
MP: The Premier League thinks that but in many other countries they don’t think that.
RB: What do you think about the Premier League season? The same four teams are at the top again.
MP: It is a great show and a big show. In every part of the world and since the start of football 100 years ago, it is the same teams that are winning. The more they have money, the more they win. Always. Always. With the money you have the best players and with the best players you have the best results. And when I played in Juventus we had the best players because Mr Agnelli [paid] the money to have the best players. Now it is Mr Abramovich [at Chelsea] and Mr Glazer [at Manchester United].
RB: Will you ever be able to change this?
MP: It’s impossible to change that. We can only protect the clubs and their young players. If Mr Abramovich wants to buy [Michael] Ballack he should go. He has the right to buy him. But if he wants to buy a player of 15 years, or 16 years, or 17 years [age], this I am totally against.
RB: You want to limit the number of foreign players in leagues, don’t you?
MP: That is Fifa. I totally agree with Fifa. But I can’t fight this. With 31 national associations in Europe it is impossible. The first law of the European Commission is free movement. I don’t want as president of Uefa to fight a lost battle. But I want to protect the young players. If you can buy the best youth, you never offer the chance for another team to win. Never.
RB: Was it a successful champions League this season? How do you measure success?
MP: The quality of the games. The success of the games will bring TV success and money. Only the quality of players brings the money. And we need to defend the quality of the game. I don’t want to defend the sponsor or TV.
RB: Is football becoming too commercialised?
MP: TV has been a big benefit for football for 50 years. I will protect this game. I won’t help sponsors or TV change the rules or the laws of the game.
RB: On Champions League changes, are you still as determined to reduce the number of qualifying teams from countries like England, France and Italy to three to offer up places to teams from other leagues?
MP: I need to make a better balance in the competition. I don’t know why the champions of countries don’t play in the Champions League. I am very surprised by the philosophy of many people. I can understand having two or three teams from each league, but why the fourth? Is it because [the big leagues] think the others are not from a rich country and they cannot participate? I can’t understand it. Nobody needs to be afraid. It’s a better balancing, but the format will be the same – eight groups of four, one group stage and knockout stages. It’s fresh air.
RB: Does the award of the 2012 European championships to Poland and Ukraine signal a new radical direction in Uefa?
MP: It was a democratic vote. We can bring the competition to all countries.
RB: Italy has had a very difficult time, with the violence at matches this year following last season’s corruption scandal. Are you involved in talking to the Italian association?
MP: They have to resolve their problems. It is not for Uefa to decide. The violence was in an Italian competition. We can help them by solidarity.
RB: Is there an imbalance between some leagues?
MP: This is a society problem. We can talk in the strategic council about having more money to share around. It could be an idea.
RB: But the big clubs dominates the strategic council.
MP: No, they are elected by all the clubs. We will come one day to discuss financing. But there are many things to speak about.
RB: Is the takeover of football clubs in the UK a good thing?
MP: It’s the liberalisme of the UK. If your laws allow a US or Saudi to buy a club he can do, but I’m not in favour of that.
RB: Why not?
MP: Because Chelsea, Arsenal or West Ham, they are part of the patrimonie of England. They are part of the English heritage. It is not just a problem of football, it is a problem of society, of the government and the minister of sport. I like the identity.
RB: In five years you could have all the 20 [English] Premier League clubs with the resources to buy all the best players in Europe.
MP: I can’t change the rules of the European Commission. I was in Italy eight years and all the best players in the world were in Italy. In Italy, you had Mr Berlusconi, Mr Agnelli buying the best players. In the Champions League semi-finals you had three English teams. Seven years ago, you had three Italian teams. I’m surprised people outside England can buy the clubs. I am not against it, but I prefer to have a president or a coach for England and more players to play in England. Because if you have a [club] president from Russia, a coach from Portugal and 15 players from France, why do you play in the Premier League?
We are defending the value of historical society. I would like to say one thing to the politicians. You don’t train or educate a player to sell him but in order to play him. If your son is training with Arsenal and Juventus offer €10m for him and he never plays a game with Arsenal it is not possible. The declaration of Nice recognises the specificity [of sport]. It was created by the summit of the European council, not by judges or commissioners.
RB: And if the white paper effectively concludes ‘we don’t think we do this’, do you take your case to European leaders?
MP: Yes, of course. I will fight. I will be in rebellion.
You can’t kill the philosophy of 150 years of football, a social activity, because of a commissioner who has never played sport, because of the simple right that a sportsman is a worker. We have had millions of people who have been working for 100 years on that – and two people who will change everything? No, no, no.
Don’t forget that in France they refused the constitution because there was no social part in the constitution.
RB: The Portuguese are making sport a priority. Are there other countries you think that will?
MP: I need to speak to Sarkozy! In France there is a consensus. We will do our work, we will do our job, we will defend our ideas. We will be strong because sport is strong.
MICHEL PLATINI - FROM PLAYER TO PRESIDENT
Born June 21 1955
Three-times European fooballer of the year
Played for Juventus 1982-87. Won European Cup with Juventus in 1985
Captained France to European Championship victory in France in 1984. Played in three World Cups.
Coached French national side 1988-92
Vice-chairman of French organising committee for 1998 World Cup
Member of Fifa executive committee since 2002
Elected president of Uefa 2007