European soccer president Michel Platini said he hasn’t received an apology from English Premier League chairman Dave Richards, who claimed last week that UEFA and FIFA “stole” the sport from England.
Richards said he’d apologize to the two bodies after making the comments last week at an event in Doha, Qatar, where he later tripped and fell into a fountain. Premier League Chairman Richard Scudamore said this week that Richards had called to apologize all those he may have offended.
“I read in an English media outlet he was going to send an e-mail -- maybe the e-mail got lost in the corridors of UEFA but I never saw it,” Platini told a press conference in Istanbul after UEFA’s annual Congress. “What he said is slightly surprising.”
Richards was to attend the event in his capacity as chairman of the European Professional Leagues but sent his apologies, without explaining why he couldn’t be present.
“He said football was stolen from England and that a gang has done this,” Platini said. “We are not a gang at UEFA and the English are so generous they have given football to the entire planet. Football now belongs to the whole world and I want to thank England for their gift.”
Richards was due to sign a memorandum of understanding between UEFA and EPFL, an umbrella body representing European soccer’s professional leagues.
“I don’t know the reasons that motivated the president of the EPFL not to come,” Platini said. “What was important was to have the contract with the EPFL signed.”
Richards issued his apology after making outspoken comments at a roundtable which included Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, a FIFA vice-president and brother to the king of Jordan.
“For 50 years, we owned the game,” Richards said. “We were the governance of the game. We wrote the rules and designed the pitches. Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said, ‘we like this,’ and they actually stole it. It was called FIFA. Fifty years later, another gang came along called UEFA and stole a bit more.”
Video of Richards falling into the water feature at an Arabic Art museum had more than 100,000 hits within a week of being posted on video sharing website Youtube.
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