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Platini defends Euro 2020 plan

Updated: 2013-03-22 07:28
By Agence France-Presse in Paris ( China Daily)

UEFA President Michel Platini, responding to criticism from FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, claims that staging Euro 2020 in venues across the continent lends true meaning to the concept of a European championship.

Platini, in an interview to appear in Thursday's edition of L'Equipe, said: "A European championship of nations will never have been better named as for the first time it will be played across the entire European continent."

The all-embracing nature of Euro 2020 has come in for criticism, notably from world soccer head Blatter.

The FIFA president attacked the controversial format of a Euro for Europe, claiming the scattering of the tournament over 13 countries would not make it a true European championship.

"A tournament belongs to a country, across which is created an identity and state of euphoria. The 2020 tournament has been dispersed and it is no longer a true European championship," the 77-year-old Swiss told German magazine Kicker.

"It should be called something else, I don't know what, but such a tournament will lack heart and soul." he said.

Platini, regarded as a potential successor to Blatter at FIFA, countered the critics of 2020, saying: "It was perhaps the UEFA president who thought of instigating it, but it is the 52 of the 53 European football federations who are being attacked."

Only Turkey, keen to organize Euro 2020 on its own, voted against the concept when it was given the green light by UEFA's executive committee in January.

(China Daily 03/22/2013 page22)

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