Platini's World Cup of woes

Ex-UEFA head detained, questioned over Qatar

A general view shows the judiciary police offices in Nanterre, near Paris on Tuesday where former UEFA president and French soccer star Michel Platini is detained for questioning in probe over awarding of 2022 World Cup to Qatar. — Reuters



French prosecutors probe into world cup attribution to Doha

Platini acknowledged he supported Gulf state's candidacy

PARIS —
Michel Platini, the former head of European football association UEFA, was detained for questioning by French police on Tuesday over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament to Qatar, a judicial source told Reuters.

Platini's lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent of all charges and that he was being questioned on "technical grounds."

France's national financial prosecutor's office, which specializes in investigating economic crimes and corruption, has been leading a probe into the awarding of the 2022 tournament to the Gulf emirate since 2016.

It is looking into possible offenses including private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling.

FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, said it was aware of the reports concerning Platini, who is a former FIFA vice-president, but said it had no details on the investigation.

The decision in December 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar surprised many given the lack of potential local audiences for the games, the extremely hot summer weather, and the poor performance of the country's national squad. It will be the first Arab state to host the competition.

Le Monde newspaper reported that prosecutors were particularly looking into a lunch hosted by France's then president, Nicolas Sarkozy, nine days before the vote that awarded the cup to Qatar. Platini and Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani, who was Qatar's prime minister and is now the country's emir, were guests at the lunch.

Platini has since acknowledged that he supported Qatar over a rival bid from the United States in the vote, but said Sarkozy "never asked him to", the newspaper said.

Two of Sarkozy's aides at that time, then Elysee secretary general Claude Gueant and Sarkozy's adviser for sports Sophie Dion, were also questioned by police on Tuesday, judicial sources confirmed to Reuters. Dion remains detained with Platini. Gueant is a "free suspect", the source said. — Reuters