Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Johansson criticizes his rival for UEFA presidency

AP , STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Lennart Johansson criticized UEFA presidency rival Michel Platini on Monday, saying he has been personally attacked by the former France striker.

Johansson, who is bidding for a fourth term as UEFA president, said he was "saddened" by recent comments made by Platini over why he was standing for re-election, his fitness for the job and where he lives.

UEFA is based in Nyon, Switzerland, and Johansson lives in his native Sweden.

"It has been a form of sniping and I have been very restrained in not responding," Johansson said in a statement. "I have not made personal attacks and recently I have had to bite my tongue when I read some of the things being said."

The election is scheduled for Jan. 27 in Duesseldorf, Germany.

Johansson said he was worried about some of Platini's proposed policies -- particularly a reduction in the number of clubs playing in the Champions League.

"We cannot afford to experiment with competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and we must build on the dialogue we have with the EU and the political authorities to protect our sport," Johansson said.

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