Platini: New rules to target Premier League debt

LONDON - Premier League clubs - including Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United - and others must stop amassing huge debts and new regulations will be drawn up to regulate team finances, UEFA president Michael Platini said on Tuesday.

In an interview in The Daily Telegraph the Frenchman said a UEFA committee would meet next week to begin devising new rules to protect the financial welfare of European clubs.

"We have three years to regulate the situation," he said. "The idea is not to kill the clubs but to help them have better balance. The philosophy to participate in our competitions is you must not spend more money than you receive.

"If (Manchester) United have 300 million euros and they spend 400 million - no! If Liverpool pay 60 million euros (interest) every year to the banks, it's a lot of money.

"Every owner has asked me for a better philosophy, for better transparency. In Germany, debts are not accepted. In England they are."

Liverpool, who are co-owned by Americans George Gillett and Tom Hicks have debts estimated at around 245 million sterling, a situation Platini says makes them very unattractive to prospective buyers.

"By putting in new rules we will protect the business of (Chelsea owner Roman) Abramovich, Massimo Moratti (at Inter Milan) or Manchester United owner (Malcolm) Glazer.

"I am sure they want to sell but who will buy clubs with so many debts? Who would be that stupid? If you regulate the system, many people will be interested in buying. I am not a big economist but I am logical."

Italian champions Inter said Platini was being unfair.

"We understand the institutional worries about the economy of European football, but in citing Inter he forgets that our club does not have debts with the banks," a statement said.

"Inter is not among those clubs that, from this point of view, can worry the UEFA president."

Platini welcomed the return of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba following a three-match Champions League ban imposed after last year's semi-final when he confronted the referee and swore to television cameras.

"Drogba's a good guy. I know him very well. He understands now that he made a mistake. Everybody does. He will come back better, stronger," Platini said of the Ivory Coast international who returns for Chelsea against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.