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Dec, 7, 2012

Michel Platini sticking by Europa League

UEFA president Michel Platini said Friday that no decision has been made to scrap the Europa League, and added that the future of Europe's second-tier competition will not be decided for at least another year.

"We are discussing it and we will take a decision in 2014. Nothing has been decided for the time being, that is what I said," Platini told reporters Friday in Switzerland.

Responding to those in England who have been critical of the competition, he said: "I cannot speak for one or two countries, I have to speak for 53 countries.

Platini said the Champions League has become more democratic since automatic qualification to the group stages was opened up to UEFA's lower-ranked nations in 2009-10.

"Previously there were eight champion teams, now there are 15," he said. "This is good for the development of football in these countries.

"My role is to defend football for each and everybody. It's no fun if the competition is always being played in the same stadium, in the same country.

"Football needs to be played by everybody and the small countries need to participate.

"I said there's reflection going on to figure out what shape the European competitions will take between 2015-18," he said, referring to an interview with a French newspaper last month.

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