UEFA chief Michel Platini: Chelsea and Drogba will benefit from Euro ban

03 November 2009 11:45
UEFA president Michel Platini believes Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will return to European football better and stronger following his three-match ban.  

Drogba is expected to return against Atletico Madrid following his suspension for verbally abusing Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of their semi-final defeat at the hands of Barcelona last season.  

Ovrebo turned down a string of Chelsea penalty appeals but Platini defended UEFA's handling of the controversy.  

Outburst: Drogba let rip at referee Ovrebo after Chelsea Champions League exit

Platini has watched Drogba's foul-mouthed antics on video since and says he will be back better than before.  

'What I saw on TV was the comportment of Didier,' said Platini. 'All the TV showed the insult of Drogba, not the decisions. I was like Drogba in the past when I saw an injustice as a player. But I don't know Drogba's mind.  

'He took the decision that he felt was right for him. He was alone in thinking that.   Drogba's a good guy. I know him very well. He understands now that he made a mistake. Everybody does. He will come back better, stronger.'

Platini also stressed he is not involved in the process of refereeing appointments.

Still going: The Chelsea striker wouldn't let it go

'When I arrive at a stadium, I don't know the name of the referee,' said Platini. 'That's the decision of the independent committee of referees. I was not there at Chelsea. I didn't know the name of the referee and I still don't.  

'I don't know whether the referee made a mistake or not. If it was a mistake, I will say "it's not a mistake" because I have to defend the referees.'

  Many Chelsea fans accused UEFA of a conspiracy against them, alleging that Platini wanted Barcelona to reach the final against Manchester United to prevent another all-Premier League showdown with the Blues.  

'Do you think I am so stupid as to ask a referee to make Chelsea not get to the final?' said Platini. 'I always respect all the players and clubs. I don't interfere. If two English teams are in the final, I have no problem. If it's two Spanish teams, no problem. It's better if not two from the same country but it's not my problem.  

'If they get there, they deserve to be there. It is not because I like Barcelona's system (of fan ownership) that I exempt them to go to the final.'

Platini also outlined plans to protect English teams from spiralling debts.

The Frenchman has often been accused of disliking English football - something he vehemently denies - but he insists the measures, which will be formulated by a UEFA committee from Monday onwards, are designed to help the clubs in the long term.

Keeping the faith: UEFA boss Platini expects big things from Blues star Drogba

And he warned that failure to comply could see them banned from UEFA competitions.

'We have three years to regulate the situation. The idea is not to kill the clubs but to help them have better balances,' Platini told the Daily Telegraph.

'The philosophy to participate in our competitions is you must not spend more money than you receive.

'If (Manchester) United have 300 million euros and they spend 400 million euros - no!

'If Liverpool pay 60 million euros (in interest) every year to the banks, it's a lot of money.

'Every owner has asked me for a better philosophy, for better transparency. In Germany, debts are not accepted. In England they are.

'Some of the chief executives are not okay with the chance of new regulations because they don't want to change their business. The owners are okay with it.'

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Source: Daily_Mail