Shamed Platini pictured being released from custody in early hours after corruption grilling by police… but insists he WASN’T quizzed about Qatar 2022 World Cup controversy that rocked football
- Michel Platini was questioned as part of an ongoing corruption investigation
- He was allowed to leave police custody at 12:30am and maintains his innocence
- ‘It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different’, he said
- French prosecutors are known to be investigating an array of winning bids
Former UEFA president Michel Platini was released from custody in the early hours of Wednesday after being questioned as part of a corruption investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
His communication team said that Platini’s detention ended at 12:30am local time.
Platini had denied any wrongdoing and French authorities did not announce any charges against the former France and Juventus player.
Michel Platini was released looking disheveled after extensive police questioning
The former UEFA president strolled out of custody with a smile on his face
‘It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different,’ Platini said after his release.
Platini notably failed to mention being questioned about the Qatar 2022 World Cup, saying: ‘They asked me questions about the 2016 Euros, the World Cup in Russia, PSG, FIFA.’
Also questioned Tuesday were Sophie Dion, a sports adviser in former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration, and Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee presidential palace under Sarkozy.
Platini, 63, was taken into custody on Tuesday morning and held at premises of the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police (OCLCIFF).
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.
Platini immediately got on the phone once he’d been allowed to leave by police
‘Michel Platini, after being heard in the same investigation in open court last year, is now questioned under the regime of custody for technical reasons. His counsel, Mr William Bourdon, strongly asserts that this is in no way an arrest, but a hearing as a witness in the context desired by the investigators, a framework that prevents all persons heard, then confronted, cannot confer outside the procedure. Michel Platini expresses himself serenely and precisely, answering all the questions, including those on the conditions for the awarding of Euro 2016, and has provided useful explanations. He has nothing to reproach himself with and claims to be totally foreign to facts the go beyond him. He is absolutely confident about what’s next.’
The French legend was elected in 2007 and served as president until 2015 when he was then banned by the FIFA Ethics Committee.
Ahead of the FIFA vote for the Qatar World Cup, Sarkozy hosted a lunch in November 2010 that brought Platini together with Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, then the crown prince of Qatar and now its ruling emir.
Platini has previously claimed that his mind was made up about his vote before he went to the meeting and that he had no idea the Qatari representatives would be there.
Al-Thani also owns the French club Paris Saint-Germain, and Sarkozy frequently attends its games.
Qatar beat the long-favored United States 14 to 8 when FIFA selected the host country for the 2022 World Cup.
Platini was asked about a variety of tournaments by French prosecutors in Paris
- 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.’ He went on to say that he 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 number of issues have arisen regarding the decision to select Qatar, 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.
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.
The 63-year-old addressed the media after being released from custody on Wednesday
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.
As head of European football’s governing body UEFA, Platini was the continent’s top representative on the FIFA committee that picked Qatar.
French prosecutors are known to be investigating an array of winning bids for major sports events, including the 2018 World Cup, awarded to Russia, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and track and field world championships.
Platini was joined by his lawyer William Bourdon (left) outside the station in Nanterre
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.
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