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Platini vows to tackle the big spenders

Wed 26th Oct 2011 | Money & Finance

Michel Platini has said Uefa will "see what we can do" to curb excessive spending among Europe's top clubs. Manchester City and Paris St-Germain have been carried to the summit of the Premier League and Ligue 1 respectively on the back of the vast wealth of their Middle Eastern owners.

City's 6-1 derby win over Manchester United on Sunday took them five points clear of their city rivals, and came courtesy of two goals apiece from Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko and one each from Sergio Aguero and the inspirational David Silva – the reported fees paid for the quartet total around £115m.

PSG, under new owners Qatar Sports, launched a summer spree which brought players such as the midfield stars Javier Pastore and Jérémy Ménez and the Uruguay captain, Diego Lugano, to the Parc des Princes, along with former Milan and Internazionale coach Leonardo as sporting director.

They top the table by three points after 11 games of the Ligue 1 season, with Pastore having scored five goals in nine games and Kévin Gameiro – a big-money arrival from Lorient shortly before the takeover – eight in 11.

Such large-scale funding risks falling foul of Uefa's new Financial Fair Play regulations, which require clubs to spend only what they earn. Uefa president Platini told French broadcaster RTL yesterday: "The philosophy is that you cannot spend more money than you generate. It is not just PSG at the top of the French league. You also have Manchester City at the top of the English league with their Arab owners. If you set the rules for everyone, they have to apply for specific clubs. We are in the process of studying the accounts, and we will see what we can do."

Former England midfielder David Beckham, who was another name linked with ambitious PSG over the summer, is widely expected to arrive this winter after his Los Angeles Galaxy contract expires.

Platini continued: "I'm not worried about that. I think it will be good for the shops. For football, at 36? I like David Beckham a lot. I think he has been a good footballer, but he is no longer the player he was so if he comes it will be for other reasons aside from football."

Platini has also launched a passionate defence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's role in football.

The CAS yesterday set a date of 24 November for its hearing into the dispute between Uefa and FC Sion, who have responded to their exclusion from the Europa League by mounting a campaign through the civil court in the Swiss canton of Vaud.

Platini is adamant that such an approach cannot be allowed to take root in football and that all such matters must be left in the hands of the CAS.

"If tomorrow you receive a red card on the pitch and you go to a judge because you cannot play in the next match, and the judge says you are right, what can we do?" Platini told French broadcaster RTL. "Everything must depend on the CAS.

"Today, we have in principle an independent disciplinary process in the federations, in Uefa, in Fifa. If nobody respects its decisions and goes before civil courts, now that justice today moves slowly, I ask myself how this could happen.

"What do we do if a club relegated to the second division go to a court because they have a first division budget and want to stay there?"

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