NYON: UEFA’s French president Michel Platini has sought to cool concerns over whether Brazil will be ready to host the World Cup in 2014 – and simultaneously also praised Germany as favourites to win Euro 2012 and repeated his opposition to goal-line technology.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke have made no secret of their increasing concerns over a host of delays in construction and parliamentary work.
However Platini – World Cup organising boss himself in 1998 in France – has insisted that the Brazilians should continue to prepare in their own way. Platini also knows, from UEFA’s experience with Poland and Ukraine vis-a-vis the Euro 2012 finals, that enormous amounts of time can be made up if the will is there.
He said: “There are differences in every World Cup hosting. In 1998 we had problems with ticket sales but it is natural that these things happen. My advice is that Brazil shouldremain focused. It should define its main goals and what outcome is wanted and then try to achieve them.
“You cannot please everyone. The situation in Brazil is different from the one in France. The World Cup there will be different. Not better, not worse. Different. Brazil has to respect its own characteristics while responding to FIFA’s needs. There is always room for talk.”
On the outcome of Euro 2012 this summer Platini said, in a weekend interview with Die Welt, that Germany – who play France on Wednesday in a friendly – were currently the best team in Europe and among championship favourites.
He said: “Germany currently has the best team in Europe, they are very young and very creative. They didn’t lose any of their European Championship qualification matches. They are the big favourites to win the championships alongside Spain.”
As for France, Platini added: “We have two or three really good players like Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery, but the rest are so-so.”
The latest tests of goal line technology will be studied on Saturday, just outside London, at the annual meeting of the law-making International Football Association Board. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has changed his mind about GLT and is now in favour of its introduction. However Platini remains an opponent, preferring the system of extra goal-line assistants which is being trialed in the European club competitions and at Euro 2012.
He said: “Football is the most popular sport in the world because it has simple rules that can work anywhere. It is always better to use people who can assess situations – for example, a handball, rather than install complicated technology.
“What concerns me is that if we start to use technology for reasons that have little point, we will also move technology just on the goal-line – maybe because there are five controversial offside decisions in a match. The International Board has the right to decide these things but I have a right to disagree. I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
The membership of the International Board is one representative from each of the four British home associations and four from FIFA. Any decision to approve a trial of goal-line technology would need a minimum six votes – and thus, given Platini’s views and influence, is not guaranteed.