Rarely have we witnessed such a public exchange between the head of UEFA and a highly respected manager of one of the top football clubs in Europe. Michel Platini using the vernacular in an interview with a French journalist to admonish Arsene Wenger for having the gall to describe Platini was backward looking for not supporting the introduction of video technology. This very personal spat has been deplored by the LMA in support of Mr Wenger in so much as they correctly identified the inappropriateness of the intemperate language used to criticise the manager of Arsenal Football club.
But what exactly was said? As is my usual practice, rather than comment on others reporting upon this I have reproduced excerpts of the interview so that you can decide if Mr Platini was out of order or even suffering from mad cow disease.
I have tried to translate the interview using my knowledge of French and the help of Google. This is as accurate as I could make it, and I would like any francophone Insiders to correct any errors please.
The interview was far ranging given the twenty minutes allocated to the journalist of Dauphiné Libéré , a French newspaper distributed in a small region of South East France covering 9 departments, not that far from Strasborg in North east France the birthplace of Arsene Wenger.

Moi, Je parle de foot!
Michel Platini, depuis le début de la saison, il est beaucoup question d’arbitrage. Etes-vous toujours contre la vidéo?
“C’est un problčme de temps, de durée, de tout, les matches vont durer quatre heures. Je vais vous donner un exemple. Il y a un mec qui va tirer un coup franc, un autre va marquer de la main et l’arbitre ne le voit pas. D’accord, on prend la vidéo. Mais avant qu’il ait marqué de la main, un défenseur l’a poussé et il y a penalty. Et peut-être que le coup franc n’était pas valable. Ça va…”

Michel Platini, since the beginning of the season, there is much talk of refereeing. Are you still against the video?
“This is a problem of time, duration, all matches will last four hours. I’ll give you an example. There is a guy who will take a free kick, another player will deflect the ball into the goal with his hand and the referee does not see it. Okay, we took the video. But before he deflected the ball with his hand, He was actually pushed by a defender and there is a penalty. And maybe the free kick was not valid . You see the problem? “

Mais Arsčne Wenger (le coach d’Arsenal) et d’autres ont dit que vous étiez rétrograde sur le sujet?
“Moi, je parle de foot, lui de business. Il faut arrêter avec Wenger et tout ça. C’est tout pour ma gueule, c’est TPMG, Arsčne!”


Arsene Wenger and others accuse you of being backward looking upon it’s introduction, is that the case?
I’m concerned about football, He (Arsene) is concerned about the finances of football. Wenger needs to shut up, I’m sick of being blamed for everything, Arsene!

Mais quels sont les remčdes aux problčmes de l’arbitrage?
“C’est de trouver une façon humaine pour les résoudre. On est le plus grand terrain de sport avec le moins d’arbitres. Essayons de trouver les moyens humains pour limiter le nombre d’erreurs. Je ne préconise rien. Il y a des tests qui ont été acceptés par l’International Board, comme d’essayer un arbitre supplémentaire dans les dix-huit mčtres, ou à côté. Ils vont commencer à faire des essais. Il faut trouver les bonnes solutions. On prend un drapeau ou pas, on met des oreillettes ou pas, on se met à côté du gardien ou derričre le but. C’est sérieux, ce n’est pas de la rigolade.”

Michel Platini goes on to explain that “a human solution must be found for the problem, when we have large football pitches with only four officials, one needs to find the best way to limit the number of mistakes made. The International committee is looking at ways to introduce more officials, Whether we use flags, ear-pieces or an official behind the goal, the right solution must be found, otherwise it will become a joke.”

L’arbitrage vidéo ne se fera-t-il donc jamais?
“J’espčre. Je me ferai une joie qu’Arsčne Wenger ne la voit jamais (sourires)… Si on commence à mettre la vidéo, il n’y aura plus d’arbitres dans dix ans, on se passera des journalistes sportifs, on se passera des consultants, tout sera chloroformé.”

So the introduction of Video technology will never happen?
“I hope not, I will be happy if Arsene Wenger never sees it either (smiles) For once we introduce video technology, in ten years we will only have sports reporters and no referees, only armchair experts, everything will be anaesthetised.

Vous ne voulez pas en parler?
(Il rit). “Non. Je ne dirai rien, ce n’est pas la peine…”

You do not want to talk about it?
(He laughs). “No. I will not say anything more, it is not worth the effort…”

Later on in the Interview, the reporter questioned Platini’s opinion of Romanian side Cluj’s defeat of Italian side Roma,

Le fait de voir Cluj, où il n’y a d’ailleurs pas beaucoup de Roumains, qui bat la Roma, c’est intéressant selon vous?
“La Roma où il n’y a pas beaucoup d’Italiens… C’est ce qui fait la beauté du football, c’est ce que ne veulent pas des Wenger, que les petits battent les grands, parce qu’ils veulent leur business.”

The fact that a CFR Cluj side, not containing many Romanians, who beat Roma, is it interesting for you?
“The Roma side also didn’t contain many Italians … This is the beauty of football, This is what the Wengers of this world don’t want to see, smaller football sides beating large clubs, because the large clubs want to keep the riches for themselves.”

I conclude by thinking that Michel Platini took the post of UEFA President rather in the hope that he could out Blatter the President of FIFA. Platini’s agenda’s are inconsistent with the legend that he was in French Football. His pronouncements are bordering upon the political rather than being concerned with sport.
 He appears to be jealous of the way that another relatively unsuccessful professional French footballer called Wenger, could no w  be so successful and held in higher regard than himself. His immature jibes mocking Arsene as the one who never sees anything, and only wants riches for the big clubs is unfair and unbecoming of the office of President of UEFA.
My response to Michel Platini is  “Fermez-la, idiot! Il faut que vous trouviez votre retraite”  or “shut up you fool, it’s time for you to retire”  ok not polite but you get the gist. The League manager’s association also rallied to the support of our manager
Typically dignified Arsene Wenger replied in L’Equipe on Tuesday by saying

«Je suis effectivement un partisan de l’assistance vidéo aux arbitres, comme tous les techniciens, et j’estime que l’UEFA a un rôle important à jouer là-dedans, déclare Wenger. Je suis pour la justice sportive, et l’UEFA doit en être le garant.» Businessman, Wenger ? «Je suis pour la bonne gestion des clubs, pour leur équilibre financier.» Bref, le tout-puissant coach des Gunners ne voit là que la manifestation d’une certaine intolérance. «Je ne vois pas pourquoi l’UEFA devrait prendre ombrage d’idées qui sont différentes des siennes» dit l’Alsacien, à L’Equipe.

“I’m actually a supporter of video assistance for referees, as with all the technology, and I think that UEFA has an important role to play here,” said Wenger. I am for justice sports and UEFA should be the guarantor. “Businessman, Wenger? “I’m for good club management and their sound financial balance.” In short, the all-powerful Gunners coach does is express a certain intolerance. “I do not see why UEFA should take umbrage ideas that are different from their own,” said the Alsatian, to L’Equipe.
Howard Wilkinson of the LMA said that the comments were not expressed in the appropriate manner.  And expressed “astonishment and dismay at the severity of the personal attack on Arsene Wenger.”

“Platini has made serious and personal comments about one of football’s greatest ever managers, who is also counted among our most respected members,” said Wilkinson.
“If Platini wishes to address certain issues with Arsene Wenger this would better be done privately and not in the public domain.
“I believe Arsene has always acted in the best interests of the game.”

Richard Bevan the LMA chief executive said

“There is an overwhelming majority in favour of goal-line technology among our members.
“It is important that Platini does not lose touch with the current views and opinions held on technical matters within bodies such as the League Managers Association.”

Well Platini? What is your response? A real apology would do for starters, rather than this luke warm retraction published in Sud Ouest today

 « J’ai été trop dur avec Arsčne. Je me suis fait disputer par mon papa (Aldo) qui l’a lancé (à Nancy). Mais quand je parle de business, ce que je vise, c’est aller chercher des jeunes de 13 ou 14 ans. Je ne le supporte pas ».

“I was too hard with Arsene. I’m arguing with my dad (Aldo) who launched (Nancy). But when I talk about business, what I meant was looking for young people aged 13 or 14. I do not support that. “

Ouch! Platini, stop digging you fool…
Fabregas the king.