Platini Denies Sarkozy Deal
Though he acknowledges having dinner with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and a pair of Qatari officials ahead of the 2022 World Cup host vote, UEFA president Michel Platini denies any deal to sway his decision.
Platini says he went to dinner in late 2010, just ahead of the vote on December 2, at President Sarkozy’s Elysee Palace in Paris.
“When I arrived, I met the emir of Qatar and the prime minister of the emirate. No one had told me of their presence,” said Platini to the Spanish newspaper AS.
“We dined together but just as I say that no one told me the Qataris were going to be there, I state emphatically that President Sarkozy did not ask me to vote for Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup before, during, or after that meeting.”
Platini understood the intention, though.
“I could understand for myself that Sarkozy was interested in Qatar organizing the World Cup. But he did not make that request to me.”
When asked what chance there was of a change of country for 2022, Platini said, “None.”
Russian World Cup Stadium in Limbo
One of the possible 2018 World Cup venues has become ensnared in a bit of political controversy.
The stadium in Yekaterinburg, the easternmost of Russia’s 12 host sites, was originally scheduled to be delivered as part of a renovation of the existing Central Stadium.
However, the city’s mayor opposes the $380 million plan.
Evgeny Roizman said “obviously” the stadium should be built elsewhere because “it would be cheaper,” according to R-Sport.
He went on to say that he is preparing an alternative proposal to present to the regional governor in the near future.
The mayor’s comments came shortly after the rebuild plan for Central Stadium was approved by a city planning commission.
UEFA Head Calls for “Sin Bin” Over Yellow Cards
Michel Platini says yellow cards should be replaced by a “sin bin.”
“I would make it like rugby,” the president of UEFA said, “punishing the offender with 10 or 15 minutes out of the game.”
The quotes came as part of an interview with Spanish daily newspaper AS.
“It is an idea. Now it needs to mature and see if it really is good for the game. It is a proposal to be explored.”
Under current rules, a player who receives a straight red or two yellow cards is ejected and cannot be replaced.
A player who receives a certain number of yellow cards spread over several matches is also currently eligible for suspension.
Platini believes the sin bin would be fairer because “that way, the benefit goes to the team he is playing against, in the same match, instead of a sanction by cards which is carried out against a third team, the next on the calendar.”