Date:Thursday October 9 2008
Michel Platini, president of UEFA, displays once again a quite remarkable hatred of England and the leading English clubs.
The dear man, whose priority is clearly to reinstall the domination of Spanish and Italian clubs, says that foreign investment in England will result in the clubs losing their identities.
"You have to have identity, that is where football`s popularity lies. If you bring some people from Qatar and there is no one from Liverpool or Manchester on the pitch or in the company, where is Liverpool or Manchester?
"I think it is not good. I think the Qataris should invest in Qatar . . . they should develop the football in each country. Not go to take money and to come and take a chance and then go back. Can we do something against it? I will try to do something."
So, what made the English clubs, particularly the so-called Big Four so popular among investors? First, of course, was Sky's insane money. Second was the Champions League.
Oh yes, the UEFA Champions League. Which, incidentally, gives out large sums to the leading clubs and has a global appeal which makes clubs participating in it very attractive for investors.
Where does UEFA get the money to hand it out the clubs? Let's have a look at three of the UEFA Champions League's - a European competition, organised by Europe's football association - current sponsors.
Sony: Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社, Sonī Kabushiki kaisha) is a multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan.
Ford: Ford Motor Company is an American corporation based in Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America.
Mastercard: MasterCard Worldwide (NYSE: MA) is a multinational corporation based in Purchase, New York, USA.
Where's Europe in that? Shouldn't the Japanese and American companies invest in Japanese and American football? Why they chose the Champions League?
Of course I know it's ridiculous: but that's my point. Speaking in the middle of the European Union*, the very heart of free trade and free movement of goods and workers, Platini wants the world to turn back and act as if it was 1950 again.
And besides, there is a simple solution for you dear Michel: take away the money from the Champions League. It's that simple. If it ceases to become such a desirable goal and gives up its global appealthen less businessmen will see top clubs as great business opportunities.
*if this particular speech was made in Switzerland, then I'm awfully sorry but you get my point, don't you?
Date:Thursday October 9 2008
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