German league chief criticises 'arrogant' Platini jibe

Reuters February 25, 2014, 12:17 am

(Reuters) - Michel Platini's jibe over German criticism of the Euro 2016 qualifying competition has been described as "somewhat arrogant" by the chief executive of the country's football league.

The UEFA president made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Germany should not take part in the competition after coach Joachim Loew said the 24-team finals reduced the "sporting value" of the entire tournament.

"I find it somewhat arrogant for a UEFA president, and maybe we should simply not play after all," German Football League CEO Christian Seifert said during a programme on Sky.

"Then we'd see what the European Championship is still worth."

Seifert also sarcastically referred to the match against Gibraltar as a "firecracker" after the new UEFA member was drawn in Germany's qualifying group.

"Twenty-four teams out of 54 will qualify, so you don't need to have such a long qualifying tournament," he added, referring to the groups of six, which means teams will play 10 qualifying matches in just over a year.

Seifert said the German league was not alone in its criticism of Platini's administration.

"A lot of leagues don't like what UEFA is doing. The clubs are the employers, they pay the players and UEFA is not on the right path when they don't look at the interests of the national leagues," he said.

Loew questioned on Friday the 24-team final tournament for the European Championship and the qualifying format.

"I think increasing the number of teams in the European Championship is questionable and the same goes for the qualifying tournament," he said on the German federation's official website.

"It reduces the sporting value of not only individual matches but also of the entire tournament."

Platini was asked about Loew's comments during a news conference on Saturday ahead of Sunday's Euro 2016 qualifying draw in Nice and gave a typical tongue-in-cheek reply.

"If they don't like it they don't have to take part," he shrugged. "But this is very important for the international game."

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne

Editing by Ed Osmond

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