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By ESPN Staff

UEFA boss Platini to resurrect UCL cup proposal

UEFA president Michel Platini remains determined to see domestic cup winners qualify for the Champions League, despite failing to garner enough support for the proposal this week.

Platini was unable to convince Europe's five big football associations of the merits of his plan, which would have seen the FA Cup winners take one of the four spots currently given to the top four in the Barclays Premier League.

'We can do that in three years. We can come back on that,' he told BBC News 24 programme Hard Talk.

Platini denied being forced into an embarrassing climbdown over the issue, claiming it proved he was willing to listen to the concerns of others.

He explained their fears, saying: 'The leagues are not in favour because they have to sell their own leagues and if they lost one of the four Champions League teams, they think they would have more problems selling their TV rights.'

Platini scrapped the proposal in return for securing a deal where, from 2009, six spots in the competition's group stage are reserved for league champions from the bottom 40 countries in Europe.

'My best message is to have six more champions in the Champions League,' he said.

Platini also insisted the English authorities will have to work hard to 'convince' him to back their bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

'I hope for you it will be England but at the moment I have nothing to say,' he said.

'You will have to convince me.

'If there are two or three European countries going to bid, they all have to convince me.'

Platini expressed his concern about the 'dangerous' influx of foreign investors into the Barclays Premier League, dubbing them 'speculators', whose primary interest was in making money.

'Money is important in football, I can understand that,' he said.

'But I don't want this money to be the boss of football.'

Yet, Platini - a legend as a player for France and Juventus - has no problem with the amount of money players make as long as clubs are not spending beyond their means.

He is also not worried that the Premier League is increasingly becoming saturated with overseas talent, although he believes England's recent international failures are 'a consequence' of this.

Platini's real concern over foreign players surrounds clubs' academy systems.

He wants to stop Arsenal and Manchester United snapping up Europe's best young players while they are still teenagers.

He said: 'I am totally against this philosophy.

'I like (Sir Alex) Ferguson, I like Arsene Wenger - they're good friends of mine - but don't like the system to pick the best players from all the youth categories in all the countries.

'It's difficult for those countries.'

Platini believes players need to be nurtured in their country of origin until they turn 20 or 21 and pointed out that in England there are regulations preventing clubs poaching young players from each other.

He said: 'I want to protect the people of 14 years old, 15 years old.'

On the subject of racism, Platini acknowledged UEFA's disciplinary commission were 'sometimes' too soft.

He revealed he was unhappy with the decision to fine Montenegrin side FK Zeta only £9,000 in September after their fans racially abused two Rangers players.