Michel Platini claims that UEFA’s rows with the Premier League have been because the top flight “want everything, all the time” – but insists he is a big fan of English football.
Platini, re-elected for four more years as UEFA president earlier this week, has clashed with the Premier League on a number of issues but says relations have improved and that he has a good rapport with new FA chairman David Bernstein.
Platini said: “I love the Premier League … no, I love the football of the Premier League and the fans of the Premier League.
“Of course we have had differences, because the Premier League want to have everything, all the time and we at UEFA don’t always agree but it’s not so bad. We have a close rapport with the FA and Dave Richards, who is chairman of the Premier League, is on our strategy committee. I also have a good rapport with David Bernstein.”
The next big difference of opinion could come with Platini’s proposals for changes to the international calendar from 2014, which he hoped will improve the standing of international football.
Platini said he does not know what the proposals will be but added: “It could be an evolution or a revolution, we don’t know.”
The UEFA president has long favoured playing more football in the summer months but insists that is a personal opinion rather than one that will be taken up by UEFA’S general secretary Gianni Infantino.
“It would be nice to play more in the summer but that’s my personal feeling, not as president of UEFA,” he added. “We can think of what should be the ideal. It is because the British decided to play football and rugby in winter and cricket in the summer when the playing fields are beautiful and when it is hot.
“Because of you we play in the snow and we play in the rain! But I don’t know what will be the general secretary’s proposal to FIFA.”
Platini’s backing is key to Sepp Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam as they contest the FIFA presidency, and the likelihood of him standing himself in 2015 means many leaders of UEFA associations believe he will back Blatter for another four years. He insists however he is close to both men and admits that UEFA’s role could be decisive.