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Oct 2, 2008

Platini's father forces back down in Wenger row

UEFA president Michel Platini has extended an olive branch to Arsene Wenger after the admitting that his recent criticism of the Arsenal manager was ''too harsh'' and also revealed that a dressing down from his father informed his climb down.

Wenger was singled out by Platini in a recent diatribe over morality and accused him of putting business before football, having previously criticised Wenger over his policy of signing young players from overseas.

However, the head of European football's governing body has now backtracked after his father, Aldo Platini, a former mentor of Wenger's at French club Nancy, stepped in.

''I have been too harsh on Arsene. I have been told off by my father who set him on his way at Nancy,'' Platini told local newspaper Sud Ouest:

Wenger had said he was surprised at how ''aggressive'' Platini had been, but Platini again called on top clubs like Arsenal to show restraint in recruiting young players from abroad.

Platini, speaking in Bordeaux ahead of UEFA's executive committee meeting, said: ''When I talk about business what I am talking about is recruiting players when they are 13 or 14. I can't stand it.''

Meanwhile, Platini is attempting to set up a financial control board within European football's governing body after being alerted by the 'worrying'' trend of foreign ownership of Premier League clubs.

Manchester City are the latest English outfit to be bought out by foreign investors, the Abu Dhabi United Group completing their takeover of the club on Tuesday.

The likes of Manchester United, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Chelsea are already owned by overseas businessmen and Platini, European football's supremo, has decided to act.

He is trying to establish a European equivalent to France's National Board of Control and Management (DNCG), an association that acts as the country's 'financial policeman' in professional football.

'I am worried by this, of course,'' he told Sud Ouest. 'I am trying to alert the authorities but this is the liberalism of the English - what can we do? On the other hand, I am in the process of working to put in place a European DNCG. I have meetings lined up with experts to find out what paths we can take.''

When asked if that was being done in an attempt to establish equality between clubs, Platini added: 'We would like that, but there will always be clubs a lot richer than others.

'And we can't fix the same rules for everyone simply because the tax system, or the centralisation of TV rights for example, aren't the same in France and in Spain. These are national problems which I can't fight against.''

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