UEFA Chief Platini Warns of Rising Extremism, Hooliganism
VIENNA (AP) — UEFA President Michel Platini warns that nationalism and hooliganism is threatening European football.
Platini tells UEFA's annual meeting extremism is an "insidious trend (that) can also be observed in our stadiums."
The France great, who witnessed the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985 playing for Juventus, says recent violence revived "certain images that I thought were a thing of the past."
Platini calls for tougher stadium bans, and "a European sports police force."
UEFA's leader will be re-elected unopposed later Tuesday, though he ignored the upcoming FIFA election and President Sepp Blatter.
Platini's address did echo Blatter once calling himself captain of a FIFA ship in troubled waters. Platini, however, said he was a teammate, "not the captain of a ship that is being battered by a storm."
Meanwhile, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has hit out at unnamed lawmakers for wanting boycotts of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 event in Qatar.
Blatter says "football should be united, sport should be united when it comes to boycotts. Boycotts have never had any results."
Blatter has addressed the issue during his opening speech at the annual UEFA congress, where he has been greeted with a respectful applause by delegates from the 54 member states.
Blatter hasn't mentioned the FIFA presidential election in May. The Swiss official turned down UEFA's invitation to make a campaign speech alongside his rivals, which include FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, Portugal great Luis Figo, and Dutch football federation president Michael van Praag.
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