As everyone is well aware, Friday sees the quarter-final and semi-final draws for this season’s Champions League. As you will also know, four of the eight teams involved in this stage of the competition are Premier League sides, much to the despair of Uefa President, Michele Platini.
Anyone who has seen or heard the former French international since he came to power will know that Platini isn’t the biggest fan of the Premier League. He was reportedly unhappy about last season when all four English sides were still in the Champions League at this point last year. He has also made some less than beneficial proposals to seemingly try and turn the balance of European football back towards the continent.
His ‘6+5’ idea of having at least five home-grown players involved in any top flight match would greatly restrict the Premier League in its current state. Elsewhere, his plan to ban those clubs who are in debt from playing in the Champions League would mean that only three English sides would be able to compete in the tournament.
Whilst you can argue that those rules could restrict other European sides, Platini has expressed his disdain for the Premier League on a number of occasions. It’s a well-documented fact that he is unhappy with the amount of money the English top flight generates and their continuing domination of Europe’s top competition must grate with him.
You could never accuse Platini of showing outright favouritism (not without incurring the wrath of Uefa) but nobody would be surprised to see all four English sides drawn against one another to give Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Villarreal and Porto the best chance of winning the European Cup.
Looking at those four sides, it is apparent that apart from Barcelona, any of the English sides would be able to overcome the three others over two legs without much trouble. It seems that Mr Platini has decided to ignore the dominance that other European nations enjoyed over the competition in years gone by and his vendetta against English sides could continue tomorrow depending on how the draw will go.