Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been detained by police in France as part of an investigation into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
An investigation into the controversial decision to allow Qatar to host the tournament, despite the Western Asian country’s human rights record and logistical problems posed by the nation’s laws, has led to the former France star being detained by French prosecutors.
The French Ministry of Justice confirmed that anti-corruption officers took the 63-year-old in for questioning in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday morning.
A statement from the Ministry of Justice, given to Omnisport, read: “Platini was taken in for questioning on Tuesday by officers of the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police.
“Following questioning, he was detained.”
French newspaper Le Monde reports that the arrest is in relation to a meeting Platini admitted attending with former France president Nicolas Sarkozy and then Qatari crown prince – now Emir – Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani just days before the vote to decide which country would host the 2022 edition of the tournament.
In 2015, Platini was banned from football-related activity for four years – reduced twice from an initial eight – due to a breach of FIFA’s code of ethics after it was found he received a “disloyal payment” from the governing body’s ex-president Sepp Blatter in 2011.
Platini has always maintained his innocence in the face of those charges, though, insisting in 2016 that he “committed not the slightest fault” and then saying last May that he was a victim of Blatter trying to pass the blame along.
“In the end, he tried to save his own skin,” Platini told Le Monde in 2018. “Blatter does not defend anyone else, he never defended me. He’s the most selfish person I have seen in my life.
“He always said I would be his last scalp. I know he was fixated on me, to the end, ever since the ‘enough is enough’ comment, even without considering the jealousy he had for the footballer I was.”