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Platini sticks to his guns

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A FIFA official holds a wristwatch used in the Hawk-Eye goal-line technology currently being used at the Club World Cup. Photograph: Reuters


UEFA President Michel Platini remains ardently opposed to the use of goal-line technology, which is being employed by FIFA for the first time at the Club World Cup, and said yesterday the money would be better spent developing the game.

The technology was used in last Thursday’s Club World Cup curtain-raiser between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Auckland City in Yokohama as FIFA finally answered calls for it to join the 21st century.

While once-sceptical FIFA president Sepp Blatter changed his mind after a series of controversial decisions in high-profile matches, Platini is not
for turning.

The Frenchman, in Kuala Lumpur to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Asian Football Confederation on co-operation, delivered a blunt “No” when asked if he would follow Blatter’s lead.

“It is not a question of goal-line technology; it is a question of technology,” he told reporters.

“Where do you begin with the technology and where do you end with the technology?

“To put goal-line technology in our competitions is €50 million ($64.63 million) in five years. I prefer to give the €50 million to the grassroots and development in football than to put 50 million into technology for perhaps one or two goals per year,” he said.

“It’s a lot [of money] a goal, yeah?”

Platini has long been tipped to succeed Blatter as the head of the world governing body in 2015 when the Swiss has said he would step down.

By that time the technology could be commonplace in stadiums around the world as FIFA presses on with its implementation despite the cost.

Hawk-eye, widely used in cricket and tennis, and GoalRef, which uses a microchip in the ball and low magnetic waves around the goal, are being used at venues in Toyota and Yokohama.

FIFA will analyse the results and could use one of the systems at the Confederations Cup in Brazil next year.

Platini, who is in favour of deploying extra officials instead of technology to help make decisions, will have the opportunity to discuss the issue with Blatter and the rest of the FIFA executive committee at a meeting in Tokyo on Friday.

“We supported the additional referees that is now accepted by the international board, and with the referee one metre from the line I think if he has good glasses he can see if the ball is inside the goal or outside,” he said.

While Platini is resisting calls to introduce technology, the 57-year-old has been responsible for sweeping changes in soccer since becoming UEFA president in 2007, a position he was re-elected unopposed to last year.

He introduced Financial Fair Play rules, in an effort to curb overspending by European clubs, and offered more automatic places in the lucrative Champions League group stage for domestic champions.

Platini has also said UEFA has put fans first with its radical decision to stage Euro 2020 in cities across Europe rather than one or two host countries.

Criticism of the plan was premature, he said yesterday.

“The idea was decided, there is nothing else. Now we will create committees to think about what could be the best idea for what we have to do in the eight years before Euro [2020].”  

African qualifiers Al Ahly take on South American champions Corinthians in the semi-final of the Club World Cup at 5:30pm Cambodian time today.

The match at the Toyota Stadium will be preceded by a 2:30pm battle for fifth place between AFC Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea and host nation hopes Sanfrecce Hiroshima. 

With assistance from Reuters and Dan Riley 



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