Platini backs financial fair-play rules

MILAN (AP) - UEFA President Michel Platini criticized soccer clubs for still having debt and said Monday he remains firmly behind financial fair-play rules.

“Financial fair play is very important in this period of economic crisis,” said Platini, who was in Milan to receive an award Monday. “I don’t understand why, while the economy is suffering, football squads should have so much debt.

“Clubs shouldn’t spend more than they earn. Every year professional football produces ($1.9 billion) of debt in Europe. I was the annoying one who said it’s time to stop that.”

Platini devised the new financial fair-play system, which calls for clubs to be barred from the Champions League and Europa League if they cannot break even on soccer-related business.

The former France player also devised the five-official system to help keep video technology out of the game. The system puts two extra officials behind the byline to give referees extra help to rule on goal-line judgments, diving and shirt-pulling at set pieces.

It’s being tested in Champions League and Europa League competitions until 2012. However, Platini does not think it will be approved by FIFA’s rules-making panel and president Sepp Blatter.

“I don’t know if it will be approved,” he added. “I don’t think Blatter likes it because it’s not his idea. I’m against technology in sport, but referees need to be helped more because their errors are seen by everyone on TV.

“A referee on his own is not enough, he needs to be helped by two assistants behind the goals. After the European Championship we’ll see what FIFA’s international board says.”

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