x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Platini on other side of line on technology debate

The Uefa president would rather invest €50million to the grassroots and development of football.

The goal-line technology has been introduced for the first time at the ongoing Club World Cup.
The goal-line technology has been introduced for the first time at the ongoing Club World Cup.

Michel Platini, the Uefa president, 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 believes the money would be better spent developing the game.

The technology was employed for the first time in the Club World Cup opener between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Auckland City in Yokohama last Thursday.

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, was a long-time opponent of goal-line technology, but changed his mind after several controversial decisions at high-profile matches.

Platini, however, has not changed his mind. The former France international 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 said.

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

“To put goal-line technology in our competitions is €50million  [Dh238.4m] in five years. I prefer to give the 50 million to the grass roots and development in football than to put 50 million into technology for perhaps one or two goals per year.”

Platini has long been rumoured as a successor to 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.

Hawkeye, 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 prefers to deploy extra officials instead of technology to help make decisions. He said he will discuss it with Blatter and the rest of the Fifa executive committee at a meeting 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 bring technology, he has been responsible for sweeping changes in football since becoming Uefa president in 2007, a position he was re-elected to unopposed last year.

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

Platini also has 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. “The idea was decided, there is nothing else,” he said. “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].”

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