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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 10 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 18, 2007

Strachan and SPL chief slam Platini Euro plan

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan and Scottish Premier League chairman Lex Gold have criticised UEFA president Michel Platini's plans to award a Champions League place to cup winners.

Gold claims that the Scotland national team, currently fighting to qualify for Euro 2008, could be affected adversely by the plan to hand over one of the country's two places to the Tennent's Scottish Cup holders.

And Strachan suggested teams would be able to 'fluke' their way to the brink of Europe.

Pointing out the example of 2005/06 cup finalists Gretna, who had just been crowned Second Division champions, Strachan told BBC1's Inside Sport programme: 'No disrespect, but I don't think that's Scottish football at its best.

'You can fluke a couple of results to get to a final. If you play in the championship and you are second or first you deserve to be there and they deserve to be shown as the best of Scottish or English.'

Liverpool and Manchester United have formally declared their opposition to Platini's plans.

For Scotland, the new system would mean the league champions qualifying for the group stages automatically, but the second-placed team being replaced in the qualifying stages by the cup winners.

Gold said of Platini: 'He is damaging our prospects.

'We are a country of five million people and we want to see our players get the highest level of experience.

'Our top clubs have got very good experience in Europe and that is feeding through to our national game.'

A final decision on whether Platini's proposal will be implemented was due to be taken by UEFA's executive committee on September 27 but it has been delayed by a month after clubs' and leagues' representatives asked for more time to present other proposals.