Platini bemoans cost of goal-line technology

Uefa president admits Euro 2016 qualifiers may be dull affairs after tournament expanded

Uefa president Michel Platini speaks during a news conference after the Executive Committee meeting in Sofia. Photograph: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Goal-line technology is too expensive for the Champions League and Uefa would rather spend the money on youth football, Michel Platini has said.

The president of European soccer's governing body, a long-time opponent of goal-line technology, reckoned the alternative five-man referee system used in the Champions League had been virtually mistake-free.

"If we are going to use this goal-line technology in the Champions League and Europe League, then we would have to set it up in every single stadium where matches are played," he told a news conference following a Uefa executive committee meeting.

"If we wanted to use goal-line technology, we would have to install it in 280 stadiums and then remove it again for domestic matches.


"It would cost around €54 million over five years for this technology, so it's quite expensive for the sort of mistake which happens once every 40 years.

"Honestly, I prefer to put more money into youth football and infrastructure than spend it on technology when there's a goal in a blue moon that hasn't been seen by a referee."

Football's law-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), approved the use of technology last July to help referees make the right decision in cases where it was not clear whether the ball had entered the goal or not.

Fifa has already said it will use goal-line technology in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Uefa has pioneered an alternative system featuring an extra linesman on each goal-line, which was also approved last year and is used in Italy's Serie A and the Brazilian championship.

"In the Champions League, I'm very happy with the results. Practically no mistakes have been made and the referees see practically everything that happens on the pitch," said Platini.

"At the very least, they see everything although there is also the question of how they interpret what they see.

"Many national associations want to use five referees but can't afford it, but the Uefa finance committee and executive committees have decided to support and help them," he added.

Critics argue the extra linesman failed to make the right decision at Euro 2012 when a shot by Ukraine's Marko Devic appeared to be over the line before being hooked clear by England's John Terry.

There have also been a number of controversial decisions in Serie A this season.

Platini admitted Uefa faces a challenge over potentially dull matches in the qualifying tournament for the expanded Euro 2016. The decision to raise the number of finalists from 16 to 24 countries means that almost half the 53 European nations will qualify for the tournament in France.

The Frenchman defended the decision but conceded that it will mean some “less interesting matches” with many of the qualifying groups seeing three of the six teams going through - and that is an issue for the European governing body which is now selling the TV rights centrally.

Platini told a news conference in Sofia, Bulgaria: "This was a decision of the Uefa Congress to go to 24 teams after a request made by Ireland and Scotland - vast majority of national associations wanted us to go to 24.

“I thought about it a great deal to see if the quantity would affect the quality and I think that we could have 24 very good teams in Europe more or less of the same calibre so I don’t think it will change the quality.

“The only small challenge has to do with the qualifiers as there will be some less interesting matches. There will be groups of six with two or three going through so the qualifying will be less decisive but the tournament will be just as interesting.”