Michel Platini reiterates his preference for extra officials over technology in football
UEFA president says the cost of installing goal-line technology is prohibitive
GLT was introduced in the English Premier League at the start of the 2013-14 season
Platini defends UEFA's decision to expand the European Championships to 24 teams
It makes its World Cup debut in Brazil later this year and is already being used by the English Premier League, but the head of European football remains resistant to the introduction of goal-line technology (GLT) for Europe’s top competitions.
The technology allows referees to make almost instant decisions on awarding goals if the ball has crossed the line.
However, UEFA president Michel Platini advocates using extra officials behind the goal, a method used in the Champions League, Europa League and Italy’s top division.
The Frenchman, who won the European Championships with his country in 1984, prefers UEFA to invest in grassroots football and develop young players rather than spend millions of dollars on installing GLT in stadia.
GLT: What are the major leagues doing?
“I prefer that we have more referees to see if there is a penalty foul and if the ball is going over the line,” Platini told CNN. “We don’t need perfect camera to see the ball.
“For the Champions League, it’s too expensive,” added Platini, who despite his philosophical opposition to GLT, admitted it could be used during Euro 2016 if that was the consensus of UEFA’s executive and referee committees, set to be held in France.
Estimating that GLT woud costs €52 million to use in Champions League matches, Platini said: “I prefer to give these millions of euros to grassroots, to the young players in football, to some infrastructures so they can play football.”
England’s top flight adopted GLT for the first time at the start of the 2013-14 season, while the Dutch Eredivisie also uses the technology.
Germany’s top two divisions will make a decision on whether to use GLT for the 2014-15 campaign before the end of the current season.
Bayer Leverkusen’s “ghost goal” against Hoffenheim in October, when Stefan Kiessling’s header went into goal through a hole in the side of the net, illustrated the mistakes that can be made when techonology isn’t used.
But Platini insisted the example of Italy shows how using more officials can reduce refereeing errors.
“If you want to make a point about five referees, you have to go to Italy because it’s been implemented for two years and is working very well,” he added. “Thirty five national associations are using the five referees in the world.
“But in Africa, there is only one referee. They don’t have the money to afford GLT. There is no money. It’s easier to have five referees that you don’t pay.”
Platini’s homeland will host an expanded European Championships in 2016 – with 24 teams set to compete compared to 16 in 2012 – before the tournament changes format ahead of the 2020 edition.
Rather than one single country hosting Euro 2020, it will be played across 13 different European cities with the venues set to be announced following a vote in September.
The pan-European format is Platini’s way of marking the 60th “birthday” of the tournament and the former Juventus player wants to see Turkey host the final.
“Turkey lost against my country 6-5 (in the vote for Euro 2016) and it is a long time that they have been bidding for some things,” added Platini.
“They bid for the Euros, they bid for the Olympic Games and I think in the end it will be a beautiful festival for one week with the semifinal in a big country, a beautiful country … like Istanbul,” said Platini, referring to the Turkish city.
Critics have argued the expansion of teams in the Euros will dilute the quality of the competition, but Platini dismissed those fears.
“I am a man of football, I never will propose to the national association something which is not good for the football,” he said. “Never.
“I have to receive the feedback of the fifty-four national associations. Fifty-two were in favor, two were not in favor: Germany and England, but they say we move with the majority.
“I think 24 teams in Europe are good (enough) to win. That means that the quality of the football is not a problem.
“I have to take care about what is good for the football and I only do it for the football. And to me, it was good for the football to extend to 24.”
Platini has been head of UEFA since 2007 and a bid by him for the presidency of FIFA, football’s global governing body, has been mooted.
The current FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been in the position since 1998 and he had announced his intention to step down from the role ahead of a presidential election in 2015.
But he has since said he will reverse that decision if the FIFA members ask him to remain.
Platini, a FIFA vice president, was tight-lipped on whether he will be running against Blatter and his fellow Frenchman Jerome Champagne, who announced his intention to run for the presidency in January.
“I didn’t think about that a lot because I am very busy and it’s so far, one year from now and we don’t know what could be,” said Platini. “I have to speak with the national association of Europe, I have to travel and I don’t take the time to think about that.
“I am working here. We have many projects … After this work, perhaps I will think about FIFA … perhaps I don’t know.”