NYON: UEFA president Michel Platini says he is ready to make unpopular decisions to protect football, such as excluding clubs from European competitions if they spend beyond their means.

In a wide-ranging interview with AFP this week Platini insisted he was more determined than ever to impose the discipline of Financial Fair Play on the European game.

Platini said: “There is no lack of money – clubs have never spent more. But it’s bad financial management. We need to get rules in place and there’ll be no backtracking. Governments are having to tighten their belts and it’s not going down well in their countries. We probably won’t be popular but we have to do it, otherwise football will be destroyed.”

UEFA’s executive committee unanimously approved FFP in 2009 and Platini insisted no-one was exempt, even clubs such as France’s Paris Saint-Germain and England’s Manchester City whose owners were rich enough to permit the to run  in the English Premier League had deep enough pockets to operate at a loss.

“Sanctions,” said Platini, “range from fines to exclusion from competitions but it may also be sanctions in terms of recruitment . . . the goal is not to kill off clubs. It’s about setting out rules.”

On other issues Platini noted how his adjustments to open up the Champions League to smaller countries had paid off – as evidenced by the progress to the last eight of APOEL of Cyprus – and claimed he was receiving increasing support for his wish to see the 2022 World Cup in Qatar played in the winter.

He said flexibility over dates would mean more countries could hope to host the finals in the future.

Platini also repeated his opposition to goal-line technology, insisting that his favoured system of extra assistants was preferable.

# # #