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UK News Desk

Platini detained on suspicion of Qatar World Cup corruption

Former UEFA president and French football legend Michel Platini is being detained for “technical reasons”, according to his team.

The 63-year-old is being held on suspicion of corruption, as part of an investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

A statement from his team maintained he has not been arrested but is appearing as a witness.

He was taken into custody in Nanterre, Paris, on Tuesday morning and detained at the anti-corruption office of the judicial police.

French police investigating the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups previously questioned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

According to French news site Mediapart, the former secretary general of the Elysee, Claude Gueant, has also been taken in for questioning but has not been arrested.

On Tuesday, FIFA said it was “concerning” to hear about Platini’s arrest and reiterated its “full commitment to cooperating with the authorities in any given country of the world where investigations are taking place in connection with football activities”.

More from Fifa

Platini’s team said he is “answering all the questions” and has “provided useful explanations”.

It added that the ex-footballer has “absolutely nothing to reproach himself with”.

It follows Qatar controversially winning the rights to host the 2022 World Cup nearly a decade ago.

The 2018 World Cup was hosted by Russia.

The investigation was opened on the grounds of private corruption, criminal association, influence peddling and benefiting from influence peddling.

Platini, who was UEFA president between 2007 and 2015, is currently serving a four-year ban from football after he was found guilty of receiving a “disloyal payment” from Sepp Blatter.

Platini was UEFA president between 2007 and 2015
Image: Platini was UEFA president between 2007 and 2015

The ban was originally for eight years but has been reduced twice.

Platini’s decision to vote for Qatar as hosts of the 2022 World Cup has been the subject of suspicion for a number of years.

Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time of the vote, claimed Platini had backed out of an agreement to allow the US to host the 2022 tournament.

The ex-UEFA president said in 2015 he “might have told” US officials he would vote for the United States bid.

He allegedly changed his mind following a meeting with Qatar’s crown prince Tamin bin Hamad al Thani along with then-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Platini has maintained the meeting did not influence his vote, saying: “Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good.”

The judiciary police offices where Platini is being held
Image: The judiciary police offices where Platini was being held

However Blatter said in a Financial Times interview that Platini had told him ahead of the 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.”

Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup has also been investigated by FIFA.

US lawyer Michael Garcia said some of the Gulf state’s actions “may not have met the standards” required by the governing body but concluded there was no “evidence of any improper activity by the bid team”.

Last year, Platini admitted the draw for the 1998 World Cup was fixed so France and Brazil would play each other.

He said the scam “wasn’t difficult” and increased the chances of having a “dream final”.

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