Date: 23rd September 2008 at 10:11am
Written by:

Michel Platini, French President of Uefa seems to have taken a bad tempered and highly personalised swipe at Arsene Wenger. In an interview to be published today in the French journal Dauphiné Libéré, he takes exception to Wengers support of video technology to aid refereeing decisions, claims Wenger is only interested in business and favours the big teams over small clubs.

The interview is apparently lengthy and includes discourses on Domenech`s role as French coach and match fixing amongst other topics but it is his pronouncements on Arsene that has grabbed headlines in France this morning.

The catalyst for his discourteous disdain seems to have been a question on the use of video technology to improve decision making in games. The question was posed quoting that Wenger and others had claimed Platini was acting retrogressively in not examining the use of such technology. His response was ” I talk of football, he talks of business. We must stop with Wenger and everything.” Implacably opposed to the use of technology he continued “I hope that arbitration video will never see the day. I will be happy that Arsene Wenger never sees it. If we use video technology there will be no referees in 10 years”

Quite why he should have been so rankled by the naming of Wenger in the question put to him is hard to understand but a little Gallic jealousy seems to be rearing it`s ugly head in the hostility with which he has responded.

The theme continues with Platini claiming that the champions league victory of Romanian minnow Cluj over Roma is not enjoyed by all.

“That is what makes football so beautiful. Arsène Wenger does not want to see the little teams beating the big teams because it takes their business away.” Says Platini.

It is hard to think how he can reconcile that statement with anything anyone knows about Wenger`s attitude to football and the need for clubs to operate on the appeal and success of the game they play.

Platini`s tendency to issue edicts without supporting his objections to video technology with any analytical appraisal is always going to be less persuasive than making a proper case against it. “We must stop all this talk” is never a statement that someone charged with responsibility for the progression of the sport should utter. Certainly his position should preclude him from personalising his opinions, as he appears to have done on this occasion.

Platini may claim that he talks of football and not business but in reality he talks of politics, not football. Like many politicians he finds it hard to accept merit in others views and by personalising those views it becomes easier for him to attack the personality instead of dealing with the viewpoint. Such a tendency should automatically bar him from holding such high office – so we’d best stop talking about it then.

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