PARIS – Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested over the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
French legend Platini was elected in 2007 and served as president until 2015 when he was then banned by the FIFA Ethics Committee.
Platini, 63, was taken into custody on Tuesday morning as part of the investigation into the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar, and held at premises of the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police (OCLCIFF).
Back in December 2010 Qatar was controversially revealed as the hosts of the 2022 World Cup, following on from Russia in 2018.
A number of issues have arisen regarding the decision to select the peninsular Arab country, including human rights concerns and the status of homosexuality among others.
In 2014 Platini admitted holding a secret meeting with the disgraced football official Mohamed Bin Hammam, shortly before casting his vote for Qatar.
A source close to the former UEFA chief at the time told the Telegraph that Platini said he had met the Qatar football official for breakfast in a hotel in Switzerland, just a few days before the controversial decision was made.
It was further alleged that the two men had met 30 to 50 times, as both sat on the decision-making committee for FIFA.
Since the vote in favour of Qatar, of the 24 members of the executive committee (comex) of FIFA on that date, 16 have been struck off, suspended or remain under investigation.
Six years ago Football France revealed that on November 23, 2010, nine days before the ballot of FIFA for the World Cup decision, former France president Nicolas Sarkozy invited Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar and Platini, then UEFA President and Vice President of FIFA, to a meeting at the Elysee hotel.
Football France reported that the meeting centred around the acquisition of Ligue 1 side Paris Saint Germain by the Qataris – which became effective in June 2011 – a rise in Qatari shareholding in the Lagardere group and the creation of ‘a sports channel (BeIN Sports) to compete with Canal +’ in France.
It was then alleged that all would have been agreed ‘in exchange for a promise: that Platini does not give his voice to the United States (for the 2022 World Cup bid), as he had envisioned, but in Qatar.’
Platini was banned by FIFA in 2015 along with former president Sepp Blatter for eight years following a verdict from the governing body’s ethics committee.
Both were cleared of corruption charges but found guilty of a series of other breaches including a conflict of interest and dereliction of duty over a 2m Swiss francs (£1.35m) ‘disloyal payment’ from Blatter to Platini, the then UEFA president, in 2011.
The Daily Mail