By Martin Samuel When Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, addressed the European Parliament on July 10, before assuming control of the presidency of the Council of the European Union, he set out the priorities of his term: dealing with multispeed European membership, the energy-climate package, workers' freedom of movement, European defence, the Common Agricultural Policy and research into Alzheimer's disease. He then expressed a desire to screw English football. Sarkozy, being a politician, was not that nakedly aggressive. He did not mention English football at all, in fact, in his desire to make sport an exception to European law, merely the movement of promising 14-year-old players from their native country. The sting in the tail comes later - next week, to be precise - when, at a meeting of European sports ministers in Biarritz, the French presidency puts forward its proposals for a European financial commission for football, in the image of La Direction Nationale du Contrôle de Gestion (DNCG), which monitors the sport in France. The DNCG ensures adherence to national and Uefa regulations and financial governance measures. It can enforce transfer bans, place limits on budgets and payrolls, dock points, relegate, prevent promotion and, in extreme cases, exclude. It is run, as these things always are, by commissions composed largely of lawyers, accountants and, no doubt, politicians. The French - and apologies if this sounds like one of those Save Our Sausages campaigns, but it is a fact that this is being driven by men from one country - want to impose the same arrangement on clubs throughout Europe. As if their model has produced a wonderful, competitive, egalitarian league; as if what football needs is more interference from bureaucrats. It is easy to blow a hole in French intellectual supremacy with one fact: Lyons have won the league title for the past seven seasons (and are seven points clear at present), making the league run by the DNCG the least competitive throughout Uefa's 53 members, with one exception: Moldova. Let's hear it for Sheriff Tiraspol, the only club in Europe to have had it more their own way than Lyons, with a run of eight straight titles dating back to 2001. No one, however, is talking up the Moldovan model as the uniform way forward for football in Europe. For one club to dominate a competition for as long as Lyons have held sway in Ligue 1 is exceptional. Holding up the most predictable, and therefore by definition the worst, leading league in Europe as the torch for all to follow is a monument to French arrogance. The proposals for a European equivalent of the DNCG will be placed before European sports ministers on November 27 and 28 by Frédéric Thiriez, the president of the French league, and Michel Platini, the president of Uefa. Before that, on November 24 and 25, Bernard Laporte, the French Sports Minister and the former coach of the country's rugby union team, who claimed that most people hate the English - “and, personally, I don't have much love for them” - before his players were soundly beaten in the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2003, will visit London to lobby ministers on signing the successful English league over to France. That the FA is run by Lord PleasedMan, a Platini lickspittle who has not missed an opportunity to knock the domestic game of late in the vain hope that it wins England the right to stage the 2018 World Cup, does not help. Ministers beware, though. If English football is sold down the river on the off chance of securing a month-long festival a decade from now, those responsible will never be forgiven. The French proposals will be dressed up with cosy phrases about level playing fields, child protection and fair competition, but the bottom line is that English club football has become the leading force in Europe and the French do not like it. This month Éric Besson, the Planning and Strategy Minister in France, published a report on the flaws in French football. His proposal? A “loosening of the economic shackles” imposed on French clubs. Thiriez said: “This report reminds us that professional football in France suffers from a lack of economic competitiveness and, therefore, sporting competitiveness in Europe, which echoes the concerns expressed by those in charge of French football and the public over several years.” And what was Besson's solution? A Europe-wide body, based on the DNCG, to govern football's finances. So, to recap, French football lacks economic and sporting competitiveness and now wishes to impose the same system that has created this problem on every other country in Europe. Hmm. I wonder what's in it for them? Platini refers to the debt levels of English clubs as cheating, while never mentioning the reasons certain clubs in Europe do not operate with such substantial overdrafts. These include tax breaks, state and local government support and municipal stadiums. The average age of football grounds in France is 65 years, with an average capacity of 28,673. In fact, there have been no new stadiums constructed in France since 1998, on the back of the World Cup, and the French federation is considering a bid for the European Championship finals in 2016 as a way of persuading the Government to spring for the next round of building work. Compare that with PleasedMan's 2018 campaign, which is largely driven by the excellence of football grounds nationwide, already constructed and financed by the Barclays Premier League clubs who, in many cases, have incurred debt as a result. No announcement has been made on venues, but it is unthinkable that the FA would not be expecting as a selling point the use of world-class facilities including Old Trafford, St James' Park and Villa Park. It would be interesting to see what would happen if, in ironic recognition of PleasedMan's support, the Premier League clubs rescinded their roles as tournament hosts. The 2018 committee would be redundant overnight. At the end of October Uefa hosted a meeting chaired by Jean Lapeyre, the deputy general manager of the French Football Federation, in which the concept of a European DNCG was sold. If this was an attempt to get the rest of the Continent on board, it was an uneven one. One observer at the meeting noted that, as well as limiting growth, legal cases since the introduction of the DNCG had soared. The attention focused on the Carlos Tévez affair here shows how rare it is that a genuine promotion-relegation issue is affected by the courts in England. Not so in France, where, between 2002 and 2007, 76 cases impacting on French football went to court, lasting, on average, three years. Between 1991 and 1996, when there was no state-run DNCG to challenge legally, there were 15 cases. Bureaucratic interventions are also more commonplace, running at roughly 120 meetings and hearings each season. Just what the world needs: more politics. The greatest flaw in the DNCG proposal is its warped concept of fairness. This involves a club using only their natural resources, meaning that Roman Abramovich could not invest to make Chelsea bigger but would have to work within the existing financial structure and get nowhere. Jack Walker could not reinvent Blackburn Rovers and there would be no hope that an oil-rich Manchester City might upset the established order in the coming seasons. It is what cements Lyons in first place in France. They win the league, they enter the Champions League every season, the Uefa money gives them greater financial clout than their rivals, who are not allowed to spend ambitiously to take them on, so their domination continues. Safely protected by the DNCG, Lyons are attempting to build a new ground, Premier League-style, financed by floatation and increasing their capacity to grind the rest of Ligue 1 into the dirt. If it is mystifying that such a system is allowed to continue in France, it is staggering that there should be an attempt to foist it on the rest of Europe. And what is so dangerous is that, because the French presidency wishes to attack the English game by stealth, the proposals do not even mention England, or football, specifically, referring instead to sport. The new rules, if passed, would forbid the end of movement of players under the age of 18, which would be catastrophic in the world of tennis, in which it would have outlawed Andy Murray's enrolment at the Sánchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona as a 15-year-old. Murray would have been stranded in Dunblane, training with his brother. It is right that child protection issues should be raised, but the biggest scandal now is not Cesc Fàbregas's passage to Arsenal but the racket around African football academies, a system that benefits the French league more than any in Europe. This year there were believed to be 500 illegal football academies operating in Accra, the capital of Ghana, alone. Few coaches had football experience and the majority would be looking only to unearth the next Michael Essien, who could be given a contract to sign at the age of 7, with funds later extracted from his family on the false promise of a trial with a big European club. In May 2007, when an abandoned fishing trawler washed up on La Tejita beach in Tenerife, 15 of the 130 dehydrated, freezing and forlorn African passengers were teenagers who believed that they were going to be stars at Real Madrid or Marseilles. Marie-George Buffet, a former French Sports Minister, highlighted this problem in a report eight years ago. There is even a charity, Culture Foot Solidaire, that aids African teenagers illegally trafficked and then abandoned. It is monitoring about 800 boys and is based, significantly, in Paris.