UEFA President praises England anti-hooligan efforts
August 28 - Michel Platini (pictured), the President of European governing body UEFA, has praised the efforts of England to stamp out hooliganism at football matches.
Football Association officials hope that it will ease fears that the serious violence that marred West Ham United's match against Millwall in the Carling Cup on Tuesday will affect England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Platini is among the most influential figures in the world of football and, as one of 24 members of FIFA's ruling Executive Committee, will help decide which country is awarded the tournament.
He said: I know the Football Association has really worked hard.
"A lot of positive things have developed in the last 20 years.
"I know what it was like in the 1980s in England."
The Frenchman witnessed one of the worst incidents involving English fans when playing for Juventus at the 1985 European Cup final.
A total of 39 fans were killed at Heysel Stadium in Brussels when Liverpool fans charged toward a section of Italian supporters causing a barrier wall to collapse.
Platini said: "There is much less violence now but obviously we know something can happen at any time, like with racism."
England faces competition from fellow UEFA members Russia, and joint Belgium-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal bids to host the 2018 World Cup, the first time it would have held the tournament since 1966.
UEFA could decide to support one candidate to avoid splitting the vote.
Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and the United States are also bidding for either the 2018 or 2022 events.
Qatar and South Korea are bidding only for the 2022 hosting rights.
|August 2009:||Violence hits England 2018 World Cup bid|