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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Platini fears for game's future
Michel Platini
Platini is a member of both the Fifa and UEFA executive committees
Michel Platini has said the game is being spoiled by big clubs in Europe fielding too many foreign players.

In an interview with, the former France captain said he wants to see football "return to its core values" over the next few years.

"Is it okay that some sides don't even field two players from their own country?" Platini asked.

"What about those clubs that buy their players abroad. Is it okay that there are a dozen Africans playing for Beveren in Belgium?

"I mean, why do they still call themselves "Beveren"? Why do they still play in Belgium?

Is it okay that there are a dozen Africans playing for Beveren in Belgium?
Michel Platini
"These are questions I often ask myself..." said Platini, France's greatest-ever player, and now a member of both the Fifa and UEFA executive committees.

Platini, a European Cup winner with Italian giants Juventus, has also accused European clubs of poaching African talent.

"The European clubs who open training centres in Africa do it to further their own interests, not to help with the development of African football.

"It should be Africans themselves who take charge of their own development by investing the money they receive from Fifa for example.

"Otherwise, who's going to train up the kids in Europe? Why should a young kid in Beveren bother working hard at his football if he has no chance of pulling on his local club shirt?"

He argued: "Football clubs play a vital social role in Europe. It is thanks to the work of associations, often staffed by volunteers, that children have ended up playing football rather than hanging around on street corners.

"But now that clubs are investing elsewhere, what will happen to these kids?"

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23 Feb 04  |  World Football
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17 Dec 03  |  African

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