Writer: Mike Field
Date:Friday February 27 2009
Spurs and Villa have been criticised by UEFA and Platini after fielding weakened teams in the UEFA Cup.
According to French papers (apparently as I don't speak French) Platini is said to be fuming with both clubs for devaluing the competition and it's said if he was able to he would take action over the issue.
Apparently Article 3 of the UEFA Cup regulations state that:
'On entering the competition participating clubs agree:
d) to field their strongest team throughout the competition.'
UEFA themselves believe it would be extremely difficult to prove that either club had broken the rules, or at least sufficiently enough to warrant disciplinary action.
UEFA spokesman Rob Faulkner said:
'Clubs are expected to uphold the spirit of fair play and respect their opponents as well.
'The competition regulations do state clubs should field their strongest team.'
As of yet I'm still to see any official response from Villa directly to this, but to be perfectly honest I couldn't give a Sunday Lunch what Platini or UEFA think.
My own thoughts on playing the youngsters and leaving the majority of the first team behind for the clash are well documented but at the end of the day it's the managers decision, and it's up tot he manager to take the flack from the fans over it.
It has stuff all do to with Platini and UEFA; the simple fact they have a clause requiring teams to play their strongest team is pathetic in the extreme, that is down to the club and manager and not some jumped up regulation.
What next, will UEFA have regulations stating that each striker on the pitch is obligated to make at least 3 attempts on goal per half?
Will our FA insist that teams from lower divisions are giving a goals headstart if playing Premiership opposition to make life more exciting?
Red tape with self serving interests is yet another reason our beautiful game is going down the toilet.
We've heard the General talk about the reality of the game lately, and he's perfectly right. The Chumps League is the be all and end all thesedays and I find that sad.
Maybe if the regulators stopped attempting to introduce a full European league via the backdoor the UEFA Cup and domestic competitions wouldn't suffer and would take on some sense of priority for all the teams involved. If that happened, there would be no need for such pathetic stipulations in the rules.
Where has the magic gone, down the drain because of the money and the polemic view that nothing other than the Champions League is important. Until all teams cease that belief our game will never be great again.
It comes to something when Arsene Wenger has defended Villa and Spurs over the decisions, and more importantly you'd have thought a man of Platini's footballing pedigree would've relished the battle our second string gave CSKA. Afterall, it was a spirited performance from the next generation of footballers and for all of CSKA's quality they almost, almost, did it.
Surely Platini is more interested in great games? That was what our second string delivered in my opinion. Or is he that caught up in red tape and regulations now that he's forgot football is meant to be exciting, passion rousing and some of the best games involve those with something to prove?
Date:Friday February 27 2009
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