2022 World Cup to Qatar: Platini detained as part of an investigation into decision to award 2022 World Cup

Former UEFA President Michel Platini, right, has denied he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup because of pressure from then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy ©Getty Images

Former UEFA President Michel Platini has been detained as part of an investigation into the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar, according to reports in France.

Mediapart reported the 63-year-old, currently serving a four-year ban from football, had been questioned at the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police (OCLCIFF) – in Paris this morning.

Platini has been detained on suspicion of corruption linked to the controversial decision to grant Qatar hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup in December 2010.

He was detained along with two aides of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Platini was taken to be questioned in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris, early this morning.

Sophie Dion, Sarkozy’s then sports adviser, and Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee, were also quizzed, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.

Platini was later released without charge.

Authorities are looking into the process which led to the Gulf nation winning its bid for the tournament amid allegations of corruption and bribery.

The former France international and three-time Ballon d’Or winner led UEFA from 2007 to 2015 before he was banned for the “disloyal” payment of CHF2 million (£1.5 million/$2 million/€1.8 million) made to him by former FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

The FIFA Ethics Committee initially suspended Platini for eight years before his suspension, which expires in October, was halved on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

He was tipped to succeed Blatter as FIFA President before the ban scuppered his ambitions of taking over from the Swiss, who resigned in June 2015 amid the corruption scandal.

Blatter had previously been questioned by investigators probing the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Platini, who has always denied wrongdoing, voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup following a meeting two weeks before the vote in Zürich with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, and then-French President Sarkozy.

He consistently claimed the meeting had not influenced his choice, although Blatter accuses the Frenchman of reneging on a “gentleman’s agreement” they had for the 2022 tournament to be awarded to the United States.

French media have reported that the OCLCIFF wanted to check Platini’s account of the lunch with Dion, who has denied being involved in the meeting.

French judges are also believed to be gathering evidence to determine whether the creation of the Qatari channel beIN Sports, a subsidiary of Al-Jazeera, was discussed at the Elysee lunch.

Qatar 2022 has continually denied anyone connected to the bid had been guilty of wrongdoing.

American lawyer Michael Garcia’s report cleared the Qatar 2022 Bidding Committee of corruption but said the conduct of officials in the country “may not have met the standards” required by world football’s governing body.

A spokesman for Platini said the Frenchman had been “questioned under the regime of custody for technical reasons” and confirmed he had been asked about the decision to award the 2016 UEFA European Championship to France.

Before the bidding process for the event in March 2009, Platini reportedly introduced Sarkozy to every member of the UEFA Executive Committee in person.

France beat Turkey and Italy to be awarded the Championships.

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