DUSHANBE, October 11, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- Central Asian countries’ joining the Union of European Football Associations at this stage is impossible, UEFA President Michel Platini told journalists in Dushanbe.

“In 1992, these countries themselves chose to play in Asia but not in Europe,” Platini noted at a press conference in Dushanbe on Thursday.

According to him, it is rather late to consider this issue, even if UEFA receives such applications from the countries of the region.  “It is very difficult political question and it may stir up discord between the confederations, first of all, between UEFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC),” UEFA president noted.

We will recall in 1992 after collapse of the Soviet Union which was member of UEFA, all the five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan -- joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), but Kazakhstan then left for UEFA.

Michel Platini noted that he was not going to open his football academy in Tajikistan.  “I am not going to open my football academy in Tajikistan or anywhere else,” said he.  “I do not think that it is a good idea when popular football clubs open their academies in other countries.”  He added that head of Tajikistan’s Football Federation (TFF) Rustam Emomali is creating his football academy in Tajikistan.

UEFA President Michel Platini arrived in Dushanbe for a short working visit Wednesday afternoon.  On the same day, he held talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and TFF head Rustam.  During his stay in Dushanbe, he also visited Dushanbe’s Central Stadium. 

Born on June 21, 1955, Michel Francois Platini was a member of the French national team that won the 1984 European Championship, a tournament in which he was the top goals corer and voted the best player.  He participated in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups, reaching the semi-finals in the latter two. Platini, Alain Giresse, Luis Fernandez and Jean Tigana together made up the "carré magique" (French for "magic square"), the group of midfield players that formed the heart of the French national team throughout the 1980s.  He is also widely regarded as one of the best passers in football history as well as one of history''s greatest free kick specialists and finishers.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative and controlling body for European association football, futsal and beach soccer. UEFA represents most of the national football associations of Europe, runs national and club competitions in its area, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions. Due to the disputed boundary of Europe and Asia transcontinental nations such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Cyprus, and Russia, are members of the UEFA rather than AFC, as is Israel which lies entirely in Asia (Israel and Kazakhstan are former AFC members). There are members that do not represent sovereign states, such as the Faroe Islands, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Irish FA).  However no unrecognized nations are members of UEFA, with Monaco being the only European UN member not a member of UEFA.  UEFA is the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA.  Of all the confederations, it is by far the strongest in terms of wealth and influence at the club level.  Virtually all of the world''s top players play in European leagues in part due to the salaries available from the world''s wealthiest football clubs, particularly in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France.