x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Platini: Bid can recover from blow

The Uefa president says the Lord Triesman controversy may have damaged England's bid but insists it can recover - and believes that the chairman deserves support.

Michel Platini, the Uefa president, has waded into the Lord Triesman controversy by offering his support to the peer who was forced to resign as chairman of the English FA and England's 2018 World Cup bid after secret recordings were published. Fifa's ethics committee are to investigate corruption claims about Spain and Russia made by Triesman in a private conversation to a friend, unaware he was being recorded.

Platini said the row may have damaged England's bid but insists it can recover - and believes that Triesman deserves support. The Uefa president, in Zurich for the International FA Board meeting said: "I have a good friendship with Lord Triesman and I want to help him in his bad moment, for him as a person. "I want to support my friend in this big problem. "I think it is a bad thing that happened to him."

Platini said the controversy could have harmed England's bid but that under Triesman's successor Geoff Thompson - a Uefa and Fifa vice-president - the campaign could recover before the vote by Fifa's executive committee is taken on December 2. Asked if the bid had been damaged, Platini said: "Maybe yes, I think you need the people who vote on your side. "But for the bid Geoff Thompson is a good guy, England is a great country and of course it can recover and survive this."

Meanwhile, Kevin-Prince Boateng has apologised to Michael Ballack for the challenge which ruled the Germany captain out of the World Cup. Boateng, the Portsmouth midfielder who will represent Ghana - an opponent of Germany in the group stage - at the World Cup, told Sport Bild magazine that he had already offered his apologies several times to Ballack. "All I can do is apologise," said Boateng. "I was too late and I hit him straight on. It looked stupid. I apologised to him twice on the field and now for a third time ? it was not intentional." * PA