Platini keen to impose financial controls

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LONDON - UEFA president Michel Platini plans to step up his efforts to introduce financial controls on top clubs in the wake of Manchester City's world record bid to sign AC Milan's Brazil forward Kaka in January.

Platini told a news briefing in London that a number of experts were examining proposals to help level the financial playing field for clubs in the Champions League and Europa League, which replaces the UEFA Cup from next season.

Referring to the failed bid for Kaka by Premier League City, who became the world's richest club after being taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group last year, Platini told reporters:

"How one guy can cost 150 million euro ($192.2 million) is ridiculous from a social, football and financial point of view.

"If you want to buy a boat for 150 million or a plane you can do that, but for a man? That is bad and that is why we have to do something, to create a more equal playing field."

"I have a philosophy, shared by 99 percent of the football people in Europe that we have to do something about having transparency and fairness in the regulations.

"I am listening to the (financial) experts about what we can do -- but it is not easy because the rules of finance are not the same in Germany, or Italy or France.

"But we have to do something because it is not good for football's popularity. My philosophy is that in football there has to be the chance for everyone of one day winning something. For me, football is a game not a product.

Platini will put forward proposals on financial controls in March at a meeting of UEFA's Strategy Committee, which represents leagues, associations and players, but they will only affect European club competitions and not domestic leagues.

MANY PROPOSALS

Proposals being touted include stopping clubs spending more than their revenue, limiting spending on wages to a fixed proportion of income and restricting squads to 25 players.

"Many clubs support me on this and the president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and vice-president of the ECA (European Clubs Association) support me. They represent the major clubs and fully agree that we must change the system.

"It will take time to do that, maybe two or three years, because we have to respect the current contracts of the players.

"We have many ideas, perhaps including a salary cap, there are many proposals, but basically clubs need to live within their means."

Platini said the problem was not just an English one even though the Premier League is now the richest in the world.

"It's not an English problem, it's a European problem and I have to find a good system which allows everybody a chance to win," said Platini.

He added that clubs who do not abide by any new system of financial regulation put in place, could lose their places in UEFA competitions.

Platini also said he wanted a debate about changing the transfer rules so that a player cannot represent more than one club in the same competition in any given season.

"For me when you play for one club in a competition and then play for another in the same competition in the same season it is not ethical.

"I also think a player should play for at least a season, not three months. We'll speak about that at the next FIFA football committee," he added.

David Beckham's three-month loan move to AC Milan from LA Galaxy has drawn attention to the loan system.