Sunday 17 December 2017

Platini backs Blanc to be next French manager

Ian Herbert

UEFA president Michel Platini believes Laurent Blanc should be the next France coach, although he admits he has little influence on the decision.

The France Football Federation council meet on May 20, when it is widely expected they will decide who will replace Raymond Domenech after the World Cup.

Blanc heads a shortlist which also includes Didier Deschamps, Jean Tigana and current assistant coach Alain Boghossian, and Platini has given his backing to the Bordeaux coach.

"Laurent Blanc, that would be a good choice," Platini said. "But it is the federal council who will choose, not me. It's good that the transition is going smoothly. That will not disturb neither the players nor Raymond. Just the opposite, the players will want to make a good impression around the new coach."

Platini said last week he believed France would progress through the group stage at the World Cup, but would not win the tournament.

The French legend was less harsh with his criticism yesterday and insists Les Bleus can start afresh after a disappointing, and extremely controversial, qualifying campaign. However, Platini has urged the players to step up a gear in South Africa, demanding more effort from the majority of them.

"The World Cup has nothing to do with the qualifiers," he said. "We're starting again from zero. The players will be good, they will prepare themselves. And all the players who haven't been good this year, who have rested, that's well known, will be good during the World Cup."

Platini has also criticised what he calls the "liberalism" in Premier League financial regulations, which he claims led to Portsmouth going into administration.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the south coast club, who last week reported debts of £119m, had got into the position they were in through "rank bad management." But Platini argued that greater checks and balances should have been in place to prevent Portsmouth trying to live above their means.

"I'm not in favour of the big liberalism of what has happened with the English clubs," he said. "I'm not an expert of finance, but it was easy to understand that clubs like Portsmouth would be in big danger of going bankrupt and going down. We have to protect them. Why was this club winning (the FA Cup in 2008) with losses of £50m?"

Meanwhile, Ireland have jumped one place to 43rd in the latest Fifa world rankings. Giovanni Trapattoni's side are just one place above Scotland.

Brazil have leapfrogged Spain to reclaim number one spot and Portugal move up to third at the expense of the Netherlands, who drop to fourth.

Fabio Capello's England drop a place to eighth, Northern Ireland are down seven places to 57th and Wales have moved up two places to 75th. Argentina, who were far from convincing in their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, have climbed two places to seventh. Italy and Germany remain fifth and sixth in the latest rankings respectively.

Russia, who Ireland face on October 8 at the Aviva stadium in Euro 2012 qualifying, moved up one place to 11th, while Slovakia drop five spots to 38th.

Irish Independent

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