In a sensational vote, Former France Captain Michel Platini was elected the new President of UEFA, a post widely seen as the most powerful in Europe. Platini won a secret ballot against Lennart Johansson of Sweden among the 52 member federations at the UEFA Congress with a 27-23 majority, with two votes being invalid.
This could have major ramifications across Europe since Platini had advocated to limit each Country’s participation in the lucrative Champions League to 3 teams. His controversial slogan during the campaign was ‘giving football back to the footballers’ . Besides this, some of his other radical plans were to Expand the European Championship from 16 to 24 finalists and that clubs should field at least six players qualified to play for the country they’re based in[Arsenal fans are pissing in their pants].
Lennart Johansson, the former incumbent, had agreed to increase the participation in the European Championship- A last ditch attempt to placate the smaller nations like San Marino and Lithuania who have as many votes as Spain in an election. It didn’t save his job but it was indicative of the way the smaller nations felt about the direction of the current administration. The proposal to mandate home based players could affect the way moneybags such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Real play the game. At the moment, Arsenal would find it hard to field a single English player.
Platini may have taken Robin Hood route to victory- take from the rich and give to the poor but are his policies feasible? As a fan, I would hate it. To have just three from the top leagues means that atleast 3 very good teams will miss out on the competition, and that could be an Arsenal or a Barcelona. Platini’s claim is that wealth distribution would level the playing field. Yes, it would but would you want it at the expense of 4/5 years of mediocrity?
Its fascinating to see whether this would goad the European top cartel, read the G-14, to breakaway and form their own format and spell the end for various Leagues in Europe. It would centralise the money and the power in the game but also impoverish your neighborhood football team, who have just made it to the English Third Division. That is precisely the situation that Platini wants to avoid but may unknowingly trigger with his pro-poor policies.
The self proclaimed Bull in a china shop may be getting a dose of reality in a few days when the powerbrokers in Europe come calling. It will be interesting to see if he answers their call!