Platini defends Euro changes
By Football News
UEFA president Michel Platini feels complaints regarding changes to the format of the European Championships are not justified.
The organisation announced plans to have the tournament take place in several European cities rather than one or two hosting nations in 2020, and the idea was met by heavy criticism from fans and the media.
The 57-year-old, however, is adamant the decision was the right one, and explained how football fans can take advantage of the new system.
"Before, the fans had to go to the Euro, now the Euro is coming to the fans," Platini told reporters.
"The fans won't have to travel but we are taking the matches to the fans and supporters in a big number of countries.
"We met with the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) recently and we reassured them we will do whatever is possible to make sure that fans get the necessary support when they travel.
"We won't have a team playing in Sweden, Portugal and Kazakhstan with fans chasing all over the continent.
"This is what we explained to the supporters' association, we told them we were going to help them and they had a much more positive attitude.
"It won't be like Poland and Ukraine, with 50 French supporters here and 70 Spanish supporters there," Platini said of the 2020 plans.
"It was difficult to go to Poland and Ukraine and I would like to congratulate the British supporters who went there, but perhaps they now have the possibility to go to another country that's closer."
Finally, Platini had words of praise for Lionel Messi, who could break the Frenchman's own record of three consecutive Ballons d'Or, if he lifts the award in December.
"I am sure he will surpass the record," he said.
"I don't whether it will be this year or next, but he will get the fourth and overtake Cruyff, Van Basten and me."