Platini re-elected to UEFA

President gets another four years and pledges to tackle violence in stadiums and match-fixing.

    Platini had an illustrious career as a top footballer, including winning the Ballon d'Or three times [GALLO/GETTY]

    UEFA boss Michel Platini was re-elected unopposed as president of European football's governing body on Tuesday.

    The 55-year-old will serve a second mandate of four years, having first been elected in 2007 when he took over from previous administrator Lennart Johansson.

    Looking on were FIFA head Sepp Blatter and AFC boss Mohamed bin Hammam who both hope to win the support of Platini to bolster their FIFA presidency race.

    In an emotional acceptance speech at the UEFA Congress in Paris, Platini pledged to continue his efforts to bring club spending under control and fight match-fixing and crowd violence. He also promised to make international football a priority and to keep the European Champions League accessible to clubs from the smaller of Europe's 53 associations.

    Only candidate

    In contrast to 2007, when he scored a narrow 27 votes to 23 win over Johansson, Platini's re-election was a straightforward affair as he had no opposition.

    Representatives of the 53 federations that make up UEFA gave Platini their official approval with a round of applause during the Congress at the Grand Palais.

    "A little thank you to all those heroes of ordinary life, without whom there'd have been no (Franz) Beckenbauer, no (Johan) Cruyff, no (Zinedine) Zidane, no (Lionel) Messi, without whom there would have been no moments of sharing," said Platini.

    "I mean to say the volunteers and coaches. They instil values in our children, educating them through the best school of life and making our society a little bit better."

    Michel Platini factbox

    Michel Francois Platini
    Born: June 1955, France

    Playing career
    Nancy (72-79)
    Saint-Etienne (79-82)
    Juventus (82-87)
    France (76-87): 72 caps, 41 goals

    Club honours include
    French Cup: 1978
    Ligue 1 (France): 1981
    Italian Cup: 1983
    Serie A (Italy): 1984, 1986
    European Cup Winners' Cup: 1984
    UEFA Super Cup: 1984
    European Cup: 1985
    Intercontinental Cup: 1985

    International honours
    European Championship: 1984

    Individual honours include:
    French player of the year: 1976, 1977
    Serie A top scorer: 1983, 1984, 1985
    Ballon d'Or 1983, 1984, 1985
    European Championship player of the tournament: 1984
    European Championship top scorer: 1984

    Coaching career
    France: 1988-92

    The former Nancy, St Etienne and Juventus player has pledged to implement his so-called Financial Fair Play policy which is aimed at making clubs live within their means.

    Those who do not comply could be barred from European competition from 2014/15.

    "Financial fair play is a crucial project that will enable us to clean up certain practices within our game," said Platini, who also sits on FIFA's executive committee, at the start of the Congress.

    "There is a huge amount of money in football, but more importantly there is a moral problem in the way this money is sometimes generated and used."

    Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president of the European Clubs Association which represents 197 of the region's biggest clubs, welcomed the re-election of his former rival.

    "During his first term of office, President Platini has set a clear vision for the future of European football," said the former West Germany forward in a statement.

    "In particular, we are very pleased with the support and understanding he has shown towards European club football.

    "We feel privileged to have such a supportive partner and we look forward to a continued excellent collaboration in the future."

    Achievements

    Platini's achievements in his first term in office include opening up UEFA's marquee European Championship and Champions League competitions to more mid-ranking teams.

    Euro 2016, which was awarded to France last year, will be the first with 24 teams instead of 16.

    Platini also restructured the Champions League qualifying rounds to ensure more teams from smaller countries would reach the lucrative group stage.

    Platini outlined his manifesto for action through 2015, when the former France captain is expected to be a strong candidate for the FIFA presidency.

    He pledged to step up efforts tackling the "scourges'' of violence in stadiums and match-fixing linked to betting rings.

    The "heart of our action,'' Platini said, would be "raising the status of national team football, fully implementing financial fair play, combating violence and betting fraud, and putting an end to institutional discrimination.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


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