Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested over the awarding of the 2022 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).
Ex-UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup
At the core of concerns is understood to be a meeting which took place nine days before the ballot of FIFA for the World Cup decision in 2010, where 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.’
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
- Former France footballer and UEFA President Michel Platini has been arrested as part of an operation.
- Platini was placed in custody, Tuesday, June 18, in the premises of the Office anticorruption judicial police (OCLCIFF) in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine).
- The investigation is into ‘private corruption’, ‘criminal conspiracy’, ‘trading in influence and concealment of trading in influence’.
- The PNF (National finance office) began an investigation in 2016 to determine the role played by France in the awarding of the 2022 World Cup.
- In 2013 a meeting took place days before the official ballot, where former France president Nicolas Sarkozy invited Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar (and current) Emir since 2013) and Michel Platini, then UEFA President and Vice President of FIFA.
- The meeting was reported to centre around Qatari acquisition of Paris Saint Germain, a rise in shareholding in the Lagardere group and the creation of a sports channel – in exchange for a vote.
- Qatar bought PSG in 2011, months after this meeting.
- Laurent Platini (Michel’s son) was hired by Qatari sports equipment supplier Burrda Sport. He left in 2016.
- ‘Neither Sarkozy nor anyone’ told me to vote for Qatar, Platini insisted in 2014.
- In 2015 Platini admitted that he ‘might have told’ the Americans he would vote for them. US were the favourites.
- May 2015: Hotel in Zurich raided and FIFA officials in 6am raid over alleged corruption. 18 people indicted.
- Platini in 2015: ‘Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good.’. Felt that ‘there was a subliminal message’ at the lunch.
- Blatter, in 2015, claimed Platini told him: ‘I am no longer in your picture because I have been told by the head of state that we should consider the situation of France.’
A meeting hosted by ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy (L) is of prime concern to authorities
Platini pictured during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup announcement held in Zurich, in 2010
Platini was UEFA president as both Russia and Qatar won their respective World Cup bids
THE QUESTIONS AUTHORITIES WANT ANSWERING
France’s National Finance Office (the PNF) are believed to be particularly interested in a lunch organised on November 23, 2010 – 10 days before the awarding of the 2022 World Cup.
The lunch involved Platini, then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy, the current Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem, then-Prime Minister and foreign minister of Qatar.
Platini has claimed of that lunch: ‘I knew I was going to vote for Qatar before lunch and I went to see Nicolas Sarkozy to tell him. I did not know that the Qataris would be there.’
He has admitted he first planned to vote for the United States as World Cup hosts before being convinced by Qatar’s bid.
Le Monde claim the PNF also want to speak to former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, despite having already questioned him as a witness in April 2017.
Qatar was controversially revealed as the host 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.
Additionally, In 2014, Platini also 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.
France’s National Finance Office are reported to also want to speak to Sepp Blatter (left)
A host of concerns have arisen following the controversial selection of Qatar for 2022
In 2014 Platini admitted holding a meeting with the disgraced football official Mohamed Bin Hammam
Platini is alleged to have met Bin Hammam (above) just a few days before the announcement
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.
Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time of the vote in 2010, blamed Platini for backing out of a secret ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to award the 2022 tournament to the United States.
Platini told the Associated Press in 2015 that he ‘might have told’ American officials that he would vote for the United States bid. However, he changed his mind after the November 2010 meeting with Sarkozy and others.
Blatter went on to later claim, in a 2015 interview with the Financial Times, that Platini told him ahead of the World Cup vote: ‘I am no longer in your picture because I have been told by the head of state that we should consider the situation of France.’
During his playing career Platini was crowned Ballon d’Or winner three times in a row between 1983 and 1985 and featured as part of the France side which won the European Championships in 1984.
TIMELINE OF CONTROVERSY THAT HAS ENGULFED FIFA
After becoming FIFA president in 1998, Sepp Blatter seeks re-election four years later but his campaign is blighted by rumours of financial irregularities.
Blatter reveals Qatar will stage the 2022 World Cup.
After rival Mohammed bin Hammam withdraws from the presidential election amid allegations of bribery, Blatter runs unopposed and elected for a fourth term.
FIFA’s ethics committee concludes an investigation into bribery allegations surrounding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Blatter is cleared of any wrongdoing.
FIFA cohorts ‘co-ordinated effort to enrich themselves’ which cost the governing body £55m in five years
Fourteen FIFA officials are arrested over ‘rampant and systemic’ corruption allegations. Blatter is urged to resign, despite not being implicated. He is again re-elected as FIFA president.
Blatter announces his resignation as president, before Swiss newspaper Blick claims he did not actually resign.
Swiss prosecutors open a criminal investigation into him.
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are provisionally banned for 90 days.
FIFA ethics committee investigations unit submit final case report and request that UEFA president Michel Platini is banned for life.
Blatter and Platini are handed eight-year bans from all football activities by FIFA’s ethics committee
Gianni Infantino became the ninth FIFA president after being elected in Zurich and promised to ‘restore a new era’ to world football’s governing body.
Platini resigns as UEFA president after having ban for corruption cut from six years to four at the Court of Arbitration for Sport