Platini hails "historic" step for European sports policy
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 07:51
Michel Platini, President of UEFA, the European football body, has hailed the so-called "Cooperation Arrangement" signed in Brussels with the European Commission, the European Union (EU)'s executive arm, last week as a "historic step forward for European sports policy".
The French footballer turned administrator used a keynote speech to EU Sports Ministers in Rome to pledge continued collaboration with the EU on matters of mutual interest, while asking for reciprocal support to ensure that sport would be based on values of "honesty, sustainability and solidarity" in future.
"I am counting on your active support because we can achieve more together than alone and because progress for one means progress for everyone," he told Ministers.
In the course of a scathing attack on the practice of third-party ownership (TPO) of the economic rights of footballers, Platini called for a "tailor-made legal framework" and said there was "no place" for TPO of players in European sport.
"If we fail to deal with this properly it will not just be a defeat for UEFA, nor even just for the sports movement, but for all Europe," he argued.
On his own body's Financial Fair Play (FFP) initiative, Platini claimed that "previously unthinkable" reforms had been adopted and implemented.
"Aggregate losses among European clubs, which had reached €1.7 billion (£1.3 billion/$2.2 billion) in 2011, fell to €800 million ($1billion/£631 million) in 2013, a drop of more than 50 per cent in less than two years," he said.
"Thanks to Financial Fair Play, we are therefore heading in the right direction."
Platini's comments on TPO come less than a month after Sepp Blatter, his counterpart at FIFA, announced that the world governing body had decided to ban TPO after a transitional period.
Other leading football figures have, however, either expressed opposition to an outright ban or underlined the difficulty of stopping it.
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