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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
PM rejects plea from Uefa chief
Uefa president Michel Platini
Platini is fearful for the future of football in Europe
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has rejected a plea from Uefa president Michel Platini for his help in curbing the influence of money in football.

In a letter to all European heads of government, Platini said "the malign and ever-present influence of money" represented a "serious threat".

But Downing Street argued the influx of money had also brought many benefits.

"The Government supports the autonomy of sport and its right to self-regulation," said a spokesperson.

"These are matters for the football authorities."

Platini's plea comes as foreign ownership in the Premier League is increasing.

There is no doubt that the influx of money into football is a testament to its success and has brought many benefits

Downing Street spokesperson

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has recently increased his stake in Arsenal, while Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Manchester City and West Ham have all been taken over by foreign owners in recent years.

Plus, the Premier League is set for a windfall of 2.7bn from its new television deals over the next three seasons.

Platini sent the letter to all European leaders - and called on governments to accept their role as "the last hope for a healthy and balanced future of European football".

He added: "Money has always been in sport and football has had a professional component for 150 years.

"But money has never been the ultimate objective of football: the main purpose has always been to win trophies."

But Downing Street believes that money is working its way down from the top.

"We believe that football can find a way forward. The recent Premier League broadcasting deal highlights this, with money being split amongst the league's clubs as well as being redistributed to the grassroots," said the spokesperson.

"We have made great strides through the Football Foundation with funding from government, the Premier League and the FA supporting over 4,000 community projects worth over half a billion pounds in seven years.

"There is no doubt that the influx of money into football is a testament to its success and has brought many benefits. It, of course, brings challenges too and we welcome the ongoing constructive debate within the game."

606: DEBATE

Platini was elected Uefa president in January and has since questioned the role of agents, spoken out against racism and violence in the European game and appealed for an increase in home-grown talent.

Additionally, the former France midfielder has proposed that countries reserve one of their Champions League places for the winners of their national cup competition.

He has also called for the G14 to disband and drop a number of lawsuits it is supporting.

The G14 represents 18 European clubs, with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United all current members.

Platini wants the G14 to air their grievances through a new body - the Professional Football Strategy Council.

SEE ALSO
Usmanov increases Arsenal stake
18 Sep 07 |  Arsenal
Platini's plans come under fire
17 Sep 07 |  Europe
Platini wants Euro place for Cup
24 Aug 07 |  Football
TV deal 'fuels transfer spending'
03 Sep 07 |  Business
Football takeover trends
06 Feb 07 |  Premier League
Fatal attraction?
06 Feb 07 |  Premier League


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