Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Platini's Rampant Ego Will Turn All Clubs into Victims

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Platini's Rampant Ego Will Turn All Clubs into Victims

Article excerpt

Byline: David Mellor

FIFA's tame disciplinary court's judgment on the signing of Gael Kakuta is an attack not only on Chelsea but on the entire Premier League. It has Michel Platini's fingerprints all over it.

The smug, drooling tribute to Platini from the president of Lens, a French club of course, on the announcement of the verdict told us all we need to know: "It's an important message given that particularly up and coming youth players who are contracted to clubs is an issue being followed closely by UEFA president Michel Platini."

Of course, of course! Back in March, Platini said: "The question of minors is above all a moral and ethical issue. We have a duty to take concrete steps to protect young players and training clubs."

What sanctimonious tosh. Kakuta is in London being groomed for a big career during which Chelsea will pay him many thousands of pounds a week for kicking a football. So who needs protecting and from whom? Kakuta has much more to fear from Platini, and FIFA's kangaroo court, who have stopped him playing competitive football for four months.

The ban on Kakuta shows the hollowness of the moral basis for a judgment designed to cut Chelsea down to size. If the moral case is to stop the exploitation of minors, as Platini asserts, then Kakuta is the victim, not the villain. So why has he been banned? No one will object to Lens getting some compensation for a player they developed from the age of eight but the rest of it -- the fine of and the two transfer window bans -- is just spite.

It reflects the apparent hatred FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a cynical old man who it is hard to see as a moral arbiter, and Platini, who is being groomed as his successor, feel for the Premier League.

To them, the Premier League is too big for its boots and they never pass up an opportunity to disparage it, and increasingly take decisions which damage our top clubs.

It is extraordinary that the biggest game on the planet should have become the private fiefdom of these two, whose erratic exercise of power is subject to no effective checks and balances, nor indeed proper scrutiny. …

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