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Anti-corruption police arrest Michel Platini over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar

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).

He is now being questioned in Nanterre, a suburb in western Paris.

At the core of concerns is understood to be a meeting which took place 10 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: 

  • The investigation is into ‘private corruption’, ‘criminal conspiracy’, ‘trading in influence and concealment of trading in influence’. 
  • In 2010 a meeting took place 10 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.
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