Apr 1st, 2009 by 'holic
The determination of Michel Platini to bring about what he sees as a level playing field in European football is not new to anybody. We have become used to his decrees from high as UEFA attempts to force quotas of homegrown players in a bid to reduce the growing power and influence of the English clubs.
I had not realised until the weekend just how far though he intends to try and steer Europe’s governing body, and I am indebted to a ‘holic cousin in California who sent me a copy of the magazine for ex-pat Mexicans, LA Profilo, principally because it featured an interview with Carlos Vela.
Also in the magazine was an interview with Platini who was presenting his ideas to the FIFA North American delegates conference in the city. Candidly he revealed he now accepts that player quotas alone will not be sufficient to ‘dumb-down’ the quality of the leading English sides, and that he intends to take steps to reduce income streams from television and, wait for it, ‘non-British nationals who are filling Premier League grounds’ and swelling the coffers of the big four.
Apparently from next season, if Platini gets his way, all tickets for Champions League matches, with the exception of the five percent to be made available to the away teams, must be sold to ‘nationals of the home association in the country of the host club’.
It would appear he feels that only Spaniards attend Barca and Real games, and just Italians follow Milan and Juve, etc. ‘Clubs in mainland Europe are at a disadvantage as people from all over the world are heading for England where tickets are freely available for those with a large disposable income’, argues the former French midfielder who is struggling to hold on to his marbles.
I must have misread, surely? A call was in order to my mate in the Arsenal ticket office, Bill Shut. Bill confirmed that Arsenal have indeed been made aware that such a scheme may be implemented at next month’s UEFA meeting in Berne, and have been making preparations to comply if necessary.
Apparently when renewing memberships in the summer, fans will be asked to provide their passport number which will be checked against the Home Office database, and only those who meet this criteria will be placed on the ‘approved’ list to purchase Champions League tickets. ‘Fine, I said, what about fans like me who do not hold a passport. Surely we cannot miss out just because of this absurd piece of proposed legislation?’
Bill agreed I had a fair point, and one that the club had already considered. He pointed out that the proposal was far from a done deal, and that a compromise wording was being sought to enable the clubs to handle the situation on a voluntary basis.
‘We have done some homework,’ said Bill, ‘ and think we have a few ideas of our own. For instance we will not sell tickets to anybody who has a surname that ends with o or i. That should keep the Spanish and the Italians out. Likewise ruling out anyone ending in z will keep the Mexicans and Germans out of the Grove. Sadly though we will have to put a block on anybody whose name begins with O or M, or we risk being inundated by Paddys from south of the border who are also outlawed by this proposal.’
Noticing I have gone deathly quiet on the other end of the line Bill chuckles. ‘Seriously ‘holic, I don’t think it will happen. We have to be prepared though, just in case. Oh, and change your name. Anybody ending in ‘ic’ will be ruled out as an Eastern European!’
When will this UEFA madness end?
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