- Michel Platini arrested in UEFA corruption probe over 2022 World Cup bid
- Former Sarkozy staff members arrested and interviewed by prosecutors
- Qatar bid ruled clean in the past by U.S. investigators
Michel Platini has been arrested on Tuesday, June 18, in Paris by French anti-corruption authorities as part of a probe into Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.
FIFA Caught in Controversy Anew
Former UEFA president Michel Platini was questioned by police on Tuesday in Paris, France and arrested as part of a large-scale investigation implicating him into fraudulently awarding the 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Qatar.
Mr. Platini was summoned on Tuesday by the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police and placed into custody as part of the investigation. The fall from grace for Mr. Platini is two-fold. First, his football legacy singles him out as one of the greats in the world of the beautiful game.
Secondly, he is the author of the fair play rules that were introduced in 2015 to make buying and selling players easier and without a risk of breaking financial fair play (FFP). Mr. Platini wasn’t the only one implicated in the latest FIA scandal.
Sophie Dion, the former sports advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was also detained by the Anti-Corruption authorities. Investigators interviewed Claude Gueant who served as a secretary general at the Elysee under President Sarkozy, but Gueant wasn’t detained.
French prosecutors have been looking into the exact conditions that led to the awarding of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup under the administration of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter who was forced to step down amid a sprawling FBI investigation into wide-spread corruption in the world’s governing soccer body.
Backing Out of the 2022 World Cup Agreement
The intrigue in the bidding process began after Mr. Blatter accused Platini in changing his mind after a 2010 meeting that was hosted by then-President Sarkozy. Originally, the 2022 World Cup was supposed to take place in the United States, even though this information was never officially confirmed.
Mr. Platini himself argued in 2015 interview that while he had mentioned a possible U.S. World Cup in 2022, that was certainly not confirmed. Both Messrs Platini and Blatter lost their positions in FIFA back in 2015 when a formal investigation into the organization’s shady dealings began.
In their case, Mr. Platini had to step down because he had received a $2 million payment which had been authorized by Mr. Blatter. The payment had unknown origin.
A U.S. attorney, Michael Garcia, however, concluded that while Qatar may not have met all standards of the application process, there was nothing to suggest that he country has acted in a manner that was inappropriate.