Amid preparations to mark the end of his first year as UEFA president, Michel Platini, in an interview with AFP, returned to the implementation of his programme. The former France and Juventus playmaker was particularly keen to emphasise his commitment to fighting racism and violence in football.
“In the struggle against violence in football we will use the French presidency of the EU to push through the creation of a European police force in the field of sport. On 5 February a meeting has been arranged with French interior minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, whom we expect to back the introduction of such a force and improve the coordination of cross-border policing. In our battle against racism we will continue to work with education programmes and will be running a campaign on the subject at the 2008 European Championship. On the field of play we exercise zero tolerance. If a player acts in a racist way, I would even go so far as to call for a ban of up to two years – though the UEFA tribunal is independent.” The New Year’s resolutions for football include “respect for everyone involved in the game, be they players, spectators or referees”, said Platini.