Ex-UEFA boss questioned in 2022 World Cup probe, denies wrongdoing
The banned ex-UEFA chief Michel Platini was held for questioning yesterday in connection with a criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The French football legend who led European football’s governing body from 2007 to 2015 was taken into custody by French anti-corruption police investigating alleged corruption in the 2010 vote to award the competition to the gas-rich Gulf state.
Platini denied wrongdoing and a statement from his representatives said the facts of the case were “unknown to him.” The decision to name Qatar the 2022 World Cup hosts triggered allegations of corruption that ultimately sparked FIFA’s worst ever scandal. France’s Office of the Financial Crimes Prosecutor (PNF) opened a preliminary investigation in 2016 into allegations of corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling surrounding the Qatar vote and also the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia.
According to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president at the time, Qatar won hosting rights as a result of a deal with France, derailing FIFA’s own “diplomatic arrangement” whereby hosting rights would have gone to Russia in 2018 and then to the United States four years later.