Platini in new attack on Premiership success

UEFA president Michel Platini has launched another attack on Premiership clubs over their recruiting of young players.

The Mail on Sunday says Platini is scathing in his criticism of English clubs that encourage boys to join them from abroad at the age of 16 or 17 - a practice that was pioneered by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, most famously in the recruitment of Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona. The policy is now also widely used by Liverpool and Chelsea.

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UEFA's president says he is working with the European Commission to introduce an exemption to labour laws specifically for football, which would prevent England's top clubs from encouraging boys from abroad to join them.

Platini said: "I have told the European Commission that we should ban the transfer of minors.

"The first football contract that a player signs should be for club that trains them. You don't train someone to be sold, you train a player to play. It is important to protect our young people. Minors shouldn't be seen as a machine that can be transferred for the benefit of agents or clubs. They have time enough for that.

"I left for another country at 25. You don't need to leave at 15. It's to do with protecting social values, family values. There is no justification for buying them at 15, getting them over with parents, that is just not on.

"I really don't like it when a club like Lugano, Geneve, Brescia or Nancy train a player and then when they are 16 they are bought by much richer clubs. We're going to fight it."

While United were criticised by Platini and have signed 16-year-olds such as Gerard Pique from Barcelona, only four of their 24-strong academy are from abroad and just 18 per cent of their playing squad under the age of 21 are from overseas.

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