ISTANBUL/LONDON: Michel Platini’s aversion to technology in football is renowned; so could it be that his suspicion of the brave new world is responsible for his not having seen an apology from Sir Dave Richards? writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Last week the chairman of the English Premier League let rip, at a conference in Doha, at the way he believed FIFA and UEFA – of which Platini is president – had “stolen” football from the English – founders, progenitors, creators and eternal flame-bearing guardians of the great game.
Richards’s remarks were badly received not only abroad but back in Richards’s own English constituency. They exacerbated fears of more complaints beyond football’s most sceptred isle about a perceived English arrogance.
A remorseful Richards insisted the next day that he had “sent a private email to the president of FIFA [Sepp Blatter] and one to the president of UEFA saying that I never intended to cause any stir.”
So that was it: an email.
Perhaps this was why Platini says he has yet to receive any apology from Richards. After all, Platini is firmly and resolutely on record with his opposition to goal-line technology. Maybe his technophobe tendencies go further than that.
Hence he conceded, during the first day of UEFA Congress, that the apology may have got lost. Doubly unfortunate then, that the opportunity of a personal apology was missed after Richards pulled out of attending Congress.
Platini said: “I read in an English media outlet he was going to send an email – maybe the email got lost in the corridors of UEFA but I never saw it.”
He added: “What he said was slightly surprising because I know Mr Richards’ ingenuity. He said football was stolen from England and that a gang has done this. We are not a gang at UEFA and the English are so generous they have given football to the entire planet. Football now belongs to the whole world and I want to thank England for their gift to the world.”
Richards had been due in Istanbul to sign a contract with UEFA in his capacity as chairman of the European Professional Football Leagues. It was signed instead by Sergey Pryadkin, president of the Russian league.
The signatures were undertaken by handheld pens, of course, not electronic.
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