Paris: The former Uefa chief Michel Platini was taken into custody for questioning on Tuesday over the 2022 World Cup being awarded to Qatar.
The 63-year-old France footballing legend was quizzed by police in connection with a criminal investigation into alleged corruption in the 2010 vote to award the world’s biggest sporting competition to Qatar.
Platini, who was taken into custody was French anti-corruption police in Paris, denied any wrongdoing.
Qatar was accused of buying votes in its bid to stage the World Cup and a subsequent report by US independent investigator Michael Garcia unearthed an array of suspect financial dealings.
In 2016, France began investigations into ‘allegations of corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling’ surrounding the vote.
The probe is now focused on a meeting involving to Platini and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
According to France Football magazine, a “secret meeting” took place on November 23, 2010, in Paris between Sarkozy, Shaikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani, who was Qatar’s Crown Prince minister and is now the country’s emir, and Platini, who at that time was Uefa president and vice-president of Fifa. Just over a week later, Fifa voted in favour of Qatar.
Platini denies he was influenced by Sarkozy, whose adviser for sport, Sophie Dion, was also held for questioning.
Platini’s representatives said in a statement: “He has done absolutely nothing wrong and affirms that he is totally unrelated to the facts (of the case) which are unknown to him.”
Disgraced former Fifa president Sepp Blatter says he always insisted that the meeting swayed the vote.
Blatter said: “Platini phoned me and said, ‘Listen, president, our gentlemen’s agreement (for the US) which we have made inside the Fifa executive committee will have difficulties to work.’”
In Blatter’s version, Platini and three other European voters switched their planned American support.