UEFA needs more help to fight violence, racism: Platini

Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:44am EDT
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By Brian Homewood

VIENNA (Reuters) - UEFA has been left to fend for itself in the battle against racism, violence and match-fixing and needs more help from government authorities, its president Michel Platini said on Tuesday.

The Frenchman said that a rise in nationalism and extremism in Europe was being reflected in stadiums and that, after several recent incidents of fan violence, European soccer was risking a return to the dark days of the 1980s.

"There are battles that never end, where we cannot ever lower our guard," Platini said in his opening speech to the UEFA Congress.

"I am thinking here of... our efforts to stamp out match-fixing, doping, violence, racism and other forms of discrimination.

"In recent months, we have all been struck by certain images that I thought were a thing of the past.

"Some of us experienced that past at first hand. In my case, it was exactly 30 years ago," said Platini, referring to the 1985 Heysel stadium disaster at the European Cup final in Brussels where 39 people were killed when a wall collapsed after Liverpool fans charged Juventus supporters.

"In these battles that we are fighting, we feel as if we have been left to fend for ourselves somewhat," said Platini who played for Juventus that day.

"And yet, these are battles that can only be won with the help of the public authorities. We are not legislators, judges or police officers.   Continued...

UEFA President Michel Platini attends a press conference after the announcement of the 13 cities which will host matches at the Euro 2020 tournament to be played across the continent, during a ceremony in Geneva September 19, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse