UEFA President Michel Platini talks during the UEFA Congress on Thursday.
UEFA President Michel Platini said that the practice of players being owned by secretive agents, businessmen or investment companies out to make a quick buck "is not only damaging soccer but is an affront to human dignity and must be halted," according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. Platini "called on FIFA to outlaw the practice worldwide" and praised the English FA for being the first to ban what are called "third party ownership" transfers. With FIFA President Sepp Blatter sitting in the front row of delegates at the Palace of Independence, Platini said, "If FIFA fails to act, we will address this issue in our own competitions in Europe. I do not want to be complicit in these practices, and at the moment I have the nasty feeling that I am." Turning to Blatter, Platini said, "Mr. Blatter, you ask things of us, such as solidarity with other continents, and we do as you ask. This time, we have something to ask of you. I want to take advantage of your presence here today to make a solemn request. Please have the political courage to deal with this problem once and for all" (REUTERS, 3/27
). Collett also reported Platini said that he "was the only person capable of beating Sepp Blatter in an election battle for the FIFA presidency." Platini emphasized that "he is yet to decide whether or not to stand for world football's top job next year." Platini: "There is only one person who can beat Blatter." Asked who that was, he said, "Me." Asked if he had enough support outside of Europe, he replied, "Yes I have many people who support me around the world. But I have not decided yet to run, I am happy being UEFA president, and I still have to decide about FIFA. I will consult many people but it will be my personal decision in the end" (REUTERS, 3/27
). The LONDON TIMES reported UEFA voted "unanimously to approve the launch of a Nations League" in Sept. '18, a tournament "intended to be a third major tournament for European nations alongside the European Championships and the World Cup." The tournament format "is yet to be finalised, although it foresees 54 teams ranked in four divisions, each sub-divided into four smaller groups" (LONDON TIMES, 3/27