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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Platini Vs Parliament

In an "impassioned speech" to the European Parliament, Uefa President Michel Platini has restated his belief that football is a special case and should therefore be exempt from EU competition laws.

Platini argued that, "Professional football is no more a financial service than it is an agricultural activity. It is just as absurd to want to regulate football through the automatic application of competition law as it would be to do so through the Common Agricultural Policy."

Platini was hoping to see off any interference from MEPs in Uefa's plans to regulate football.

He has criticised the big spending of Europe's top clubs before and he once again called for a cap on player wages and transfer fees.

His latest proposal, though, is to outlaw international transfers of players under the age of 18. He argued that, "The European Commission talks of free movement of workers from the age of 16. This might have seemed reasonable in the 1950s, but is that still the case today for most skilled jobs, at a time when many European countries have raised the school-leaving age to 18?"

In a hefty tug at MEP heartstrings, Platini added, "Some people talk about the free movement of workers. I am talking about the protection of children."

This proposal provides another test for EU free movement rules and will potentially deprive talented young football players of access to the best training and opportunities. In an increasingly competitive profession, which is usually over by a player's early 30s, this looks like a proposal too far.

We're inclined to think the EU and Europe's big clubs will agree...

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