Worried by rise of hooliganism, unopposed Platini reelected as UEFA president

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Incumbent Michel Platini won a third-straight term as UEFA president, and will continue to helm European soccer’s governing body.

The well-decorated French midfielder, 59, took over after the 16-year reign of Lennart Johansson ended in 2007.

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In his opening speech to UEFA members, Platini issued a plea for help from European police to help curb stadium violence, extremism and hooliganism in soccer.

From the BBC:

He reiterated calls for a European sports police force to avoid events witnessed in the “not-so-distant past”.

“A past where hooligans and all manner of fanatics called the shots in certain European stadiums,” he added.

Platini was a player with Juventus when crowd trouble prior to the 1985 European Cup final against Liverpool at Heysel Stadium led to the deaths of 39 people.

Violence in the stands and outside the stadia have caused disruption of matches and even the suspension of league play in Greece. The problems have not been limited to club play, as Euro qualifying has seen international matches marred in Belgrade amongst other spots.

How to alleviate Platini’s concerns is a much more complicated process, as the Frenchman admitted it was one of his concerns upon election in 2007 and, on the whole, things have not improved much.