"With extra officials you're aware of more things: the fear of getting caught is there. There's no more shirt-pulling, players know that the referee is there." At this point in his interview with Sky Sports, Michel Platini was doing reasonably well. We haven't seen the kind of holdups at set pieces, caused by pushing and shoving, to which we've become accustomed in club matches. Then, warming to the tune he was parping on UEFA's trumpet, Platini added an extra long note of satisfaction. "With five, officials see everything." If he hadn't already been reassessing his feelings on the matter, today's play might have forced him to.
UEFA president Michel Platini admits the build up to the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine has been a "complicated adventure" but predicted a successful soccer tournament when the action kicks off in June.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has denied reports that he plans to hand over power to UEFA chief Michel Platini before the end of his final four-year tenure as the head of world football's governing body.
Another NFL season is upon us, and so is one of the greatest inventions known to man: the NFL Red Zone channel, which whips around from city to city, allowing you to see live look-ins, real-time highlights and all the scoring plays from every NFL game on any given Sunday.
On Feb. 17, Sports Illustrated senior writer Grant Wahl announced his candidacy for FIFA president, releasing his platform for change and his campaign video as the People's Choice to replace Sepp Blatter. Wahl had 43 days to be formally nominated by one of the world's 208 national federations before the final deadline: Friday at 6 p.m. ET. With the deadline about to hit, Wahl is ending his campaign. This is his inside story of what happened over the past six weeks.
As well as upping weekend revenue for DIY stores everywhere, the international break produced two hat-tricks -- one each for Jermain Defoe (England) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Netherlands). Variety, technique, a dollop of selfishness, they all go into the mix to score a treble at this level, and competitive international hat tricks are getting harder to come by -- the last three World Cups have produced about a quarter of the total produced by the first three. Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain bagged one this summer with the same cool exterior as his predecessor Gabriel Batistuta, but an international hat trick of tournament-changing magnitude, of tear-jerking quality or just of eyebrow-raising novelty is a rare thing indeed. Here's a list of memorable ones:
A little more than a week ago, I was invited to a roundtable chat with UEFA president Michel Platini. One phrase stood out: "We need to reintroduce the concept of morality in football. We have to permit everybody to have a chance to win."
Michel Platini has been an eager advocate of the introduction of salary caps since his election as the president of UEFA. His idealism, as well as his power base among the smaller nations of Europe, makes him a natural supporter of a scheme that might reduce the power of the giant clubs of England, Italy and Spain, and allow many more teams a realistic chance of winning trophies.
Perhaps it was always going to take the meltdown of the financial markets to get the folks who run the game to take an interest in things like ownership and debt. Whatever the case may be, it's better late than never.
Earlier this week, UEFA President Michel Platini and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger got involved in a somewhat petty dispute over video replay and what Platini reportedly described as Wenger being a man "of business," whereas Platini is a man "of football."
Marco van Basten came up short of his dream ending as Netherlands manager when Russia upset the Oranje in the quarterfinals of the 2008 European Championship. The former Dutch legend decided long before the Euros that this would be his last stint as national-team manager. I spoke with van Basten just before the tournament about what's next for him and Dutch soccer.
There are more pounds around the middle and less hair up top these days as perhaps the most powerful yet graceful player ever produced in Europe slides toward his 46th birthday, his playing days long past and an oft-aborted coaching career in its fourth phase.
The Olympic flame on Monday began its 34-day journey around the world ahead of the 2008 Beijing Games. Here are some facts about the centuries-old traditions behind the relay and its modern development.
The draw for the group stage of the Champions League takes place on Thursday in Monte Carlo as the movers and shakers of European soccer congregate for their annual get-together, organized by governing body UEFA.
Former German national-team hero Franz Beckenbauer is a World Cup winner both as a player (1974) and a coach (1990). During a 19-year professional career, he won nearly every title there is with Bayern Munich, the New York Cosmos and Hamburger SV. Now he has a new role with FIFA. The man known as "The Kaiser" talks to World Soccer's Gavin Hamilton.
Soccer's World Cup starts Friday, and I will spend way too much time watching it on TV (with all the weekday games airing during East Coast working hours, this may cause problems). My son and I will even fly to Germany for a couple of games, and I could easily fill page after Web page with half-informed rantings about the Netherlands' inscrutably brilliant coach, England's dorky new star, and the USA's balding-but-spry goalie. But I won't.