Platini: CL match was clean

2011-12-08 21:45

Venice - UEFA President Michel Platini is confident there was nothing suspicious about Lyon's 7-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

Lyon advanced to the last 16 thanks to Wednesday's results, but the ease of some goals and the size of the scoreline sparked talk of a fix even though there was no immediate evidence.

"I have no doubts whatsoever about the integrity of the match or the competition," Platini said after a UEFA executive committee meeting on Thursday. "I believe in this competition and I believe in the integrity of the players in this competition.

"If there are doubts then you need to take a close look at them. I have no doubts whatsoever and we have this early warning system that reported no doubts. But it's normal that questions will be raised."

UEFA's gambling fraud detection system has not detected any suspicious betting patterns.

UEFA said on Thursday it is waiting to receive reports from the referee, referee observer and match delegate and if there is anything suspicious it may "charge a disciplinary inspector to investigate the matter."

Lyon's margin of victory was not the only shock in the Champions League on Wednesday as Manchester United failed to progress following a 2-1 defeat at FC Basel, which sent the Swiss team through to the last 16 and condemned the three-time European champions to the Europa League.

"You always have to respect what happens on the pitch and I'm a champion of imposing this," Platini said. "It's not because you're a big name that you should expect to qualify. It's not that I'm happy or not happy. It's not about what's good or bad, it's about what happens on the pitch and that must be respected.

"Europe doesn't revolve around England. I love England but let's not criticise the Europa League because United after three finals in four years is in the Europa League. The Europa League is a sensational competition."

Speaking after the one-day executive committee meeting in Venice, Platini also reiterated his objection to goal line technology, which FIFA president Sepp Blatter said this week could be implemented as early as next season if it is approved by the International Football Association Board.

Platini favours the system of using an extra referee behind each goal - something which has been used in European club competition since 2009 and will be used at next summer's European Championship.

The UEFA president acknowledges his system is costly, but feels that it is worth it to give more help to the referee.

"I understand FIFA saying it's expensive but I'm not sure that technology is important in this context," Platini said. "There was the incident in 1966 and then last summer, so it's only useful every 40 years. If we have doubts, it is over whether the referee is making the right decisions in the area, that's where they need help and, yes, it is expensive."

Platini also fears goal line technology could lead to the use of video replays.

"I think human refereeing is always more important than video," he said. "I don't think this technology is good for football. That is my personal feelings but the International Board will decide."

The draw for the 2012 European Championships was made last week and offered up an attractive lineup of games for fans, but also caused plenty of logistical challenges for hard-pressed host nations Poland and Ukraine.

Some of the most high-profile games will be played in the smallest stadiums, several of the teams who have already committed to a training base in one country will have their matches in the other, and many of the largest fan contingents will have to travel to the most remote venues.

"It's a formidable challenge for UEFA, we always knew it wouldn't be easy, that it would be hard," Platini said. "We asked if we should continue several times. But now everything is good. The hotels are a bit lacking but they'll be ready. We're trying to organise to allow fans to come and enjoy it.

"Poland and Ukraine need help and they need experts but we'll help them and I don't have any worries."

Euro 2012 will also see a rule change implemented. If a match has to be abandoned, for whatever reason, rather than replaying it in full the next day, only the remaining time will be played with the same players on the pitch and substitutes as when the match was abandoned.