LONDON (AFP) - UEFA president Michel Platini has written letters to all European leaders asking for their help in saving football from the evil influence of money men whom he claims are ruining the modern game.
Platini's letter warns that football is at risk from businessman whose primary motive is profit and he calls on governments for their help as "the last hope for a healthy and balanced future of European football".
"A serious threat hangs over the development of European football: the malign and ever-present influence of money," wrote Platini in his letter which was reproduced in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.
"But money has never been the ultimate objective of football: the main purpose has always been to win trophies.
"For the first time we may be entering an era in which financial profit alone will be the measure of sporting success."
The comments from the 52-year-old French footballing legend, who took over as European football chief in January 2007, come as foreign ownership in the Premier League in particular is increasing.
A lucrative broadcast deal means that the professional game is also overflowing with cash.
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has recently increased his stake in Arsenal, while Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Manchester City and West Ham have all been taken over by foreign owners.
Bolton, Derby, Blackburn, Fulham and Tottenham are also believed to be up for sale.
There had been speculation that the new European Union Reform Treaty might give football's governing bodies more power to tackle inequalities in the game as well as battling doping.
But Platini is upset that recommendations proposed by Portuguese minister Jose Luis Arnaut have been rejected in favour of a less strongly-worded article.
"This article doesn't go far enough to protect football from the rampant commercialism which assails on all sides," he complained.
"Millions of football fans, for whom I speak, are calling on Europe to do more to defend our football and the European sporting model based on financial solidarity between rich and poor, which is the only way to guarantee the values we cherish."
|Juventus unveil dramatic change to club logo - but not everyone´s a fan|
|´I do not think I will return to coaching´ - Van Gaal set to call it quits|
|Torino 2 AC Milan 2: Bacca caps thrilling comeback as hosts pay the penalty|
|DR Congo 1 Morocco 0: Kabananga pounces on blunder to give 10 men the points|
|´Happy and comfortable´ Sanchez dismisses Arsenal exit talk|
|How much?! West Ham flop Simone Zaza could cost Valencia €20m|
|Mali v Egypt: Salah leads Pharaohs´ bid for AFCON glory|
|Sevilla concede they ´cannot force´ sporting director Monchi to stay|
|Ivory Coast 0 Togo 0: Reigning champions held to opening draw by Adebayor and co.|
|Goalkeeping woes, Stones and tactical confusion - How Guardiola is making life difficult for himself|
|Ozil and Sanchez can be persuaded to stay - Cech|
|Pogba: I rejected Barcelona and Real Madrid|
|Ghana v Uganda: Gyan dreams of first trophy since 1982|
|Chiellini: Juventus a work in progress|
|Robben agrees Bayern renewal until 2018|
|Hazard: Goals do not matter to me|
|Bennell pleads not guilty to eight child sex offences|
|Muller fed up with debate over Bayern role|
|Wenger glad Sanchez is not ´a Costa problem´|
|Flick resigns as DFB´s sporting director|
|Gomis ´can´t wait´ to welcome Payet to Marseille|
|Chinese FA changes foreign player rules after ´irrational´ spending|
|Like father, like son: Justin Kluivert follows in dad´s footsteps|
|´No reason to lose him´ - Marotta rubbishes talk of Allegri exit|
|Courtois: We don´t need Costa|
|Kane: Tottenham players won´t go to China|
|Noble ´angry and disappointed´ with Payet|
|Klopp furious over Matip uncertainty|
|Wenger surprised by tight Premier League|
|´Money is not everything´ - Conte issues warning amid China speculation|
|Fiorentina defeat a ´bad setback´ - Allegri|
|´This will elevate this group of players´ - Sampaoli revels in Sevilla late show|
|WATCH: Rio Ferdinand screams and dances in crazy Man Utd celebration|
|Real Madrid relaxed, admits Zidane after Sevilla defeat|
|Monaco go top of Ligue 1 with stunning Marseille victory|
|Ronaldo equals LaLiga penalty record as Real Madrid lose|
|Sevilla 2 Real Madrid 1: Stunning late comeback ends unbeaten run at 40|
|Fiorentina 2 Juventus 1: Brilliant Viola breathe life into Serie A title race|
|Tunisia 0 Senegal 2: Mane on target as favourites start strongly|
|Mourinho explains Klopp confrontation|
|Klopp delights in Alexander-Arnold display|
|Algeria must cut out mistakes against Tunisia - Leekens|
|Long balls led to Man Utd equaliser, says Klopp|
|´We attacked, Liverpool defended´ – Mourinho insists a point flattered Klopp´s men|
|DR Congo v Morocco: ´Confidence´ the Atlas Lions´ biggest hindrance ahead of AFCON opener|
|Ibrahimovic: Direct tactics worked for United|
|Guardiola rues gap to Chelsea after Goodison mauling|
|Algeria 2 Zimbabwe 2: Mahrez double prevents shock defeat|
|Manchester United 1 Liverpool 1: In-form Ibrahimovic saves hosts|
|Ivory Coast v Togo: AFCON champions hope to tame Le Roy´s ´troublemakers´|
|Guardiola lays City´s mental frailties bare after Goodison rout|
|Koeman hails ´perfect´ Everton after City mauling|
|Nice stalemate gives Monaco chance to go top|
|Guardiola suffers heaviest league loss in Everton thrashing|
|Neymar-esque Zaha is England´s loss – Bolasie|
|Everton 4 Manchester City 0: Koeman leaves old pal Guardiola´s title bid in tatters|
|Matip withdrawn from Liverpool selection over eligibility questions|
|Podolski staying at Galatasaray, insists sporting director|
|Cavani wants PSG stay|
|Torino move feels normal now – Hart|
|Chinese FA changes rule on CSL foreign players - reports|
|Bayern complete swoop for Hoffenheim duo Sule and Rudy|
|Aubameyang: Dortmund not really like Barca, Madrid or Bayern|
|Pogba can chance a game in one second - Herrera|
|Newcastle Jets 2 Perth Glory 2: Keogh´s eighth of season seals draw|
|Klopp: Liverpool ready for Old Trafford test|
|Herrera taunts Liverpool ahead of Old Trafford showdown|
|I had to be 100 per cent to stay at Boca - Tevez|
|No player is bigger than the club - Carroll takes swipe at want-away Payet|
|Icardi: I can always move to China at end of career|
|Mkhitaryan: Klopp convinced me not to join Liverpool|
|Mourinho: Pogba can score every game|
|Cameroon´s profligacy frustrates Broos|