#AceNewsReport – June.18: Disgraced former UEFA President Michel Platini has been taken into custody as part of a corruption investigation over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, the French financial prosecutor’s spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday: The ex-boss of Europe’s soccer governing body had been serving a four-year ban from the sport since 2015, over a $2 million payment he received from FIFA: He has been brought in for questioning but has not been arrested or charged with a crime, the spokesperson said.
The former French soccer legend led UEFA from 2007 to 2015, and was the heir apparent to take over from FIFA head Sepp Blatter, until both men were swept out of the sport in the wake of the massive corruption scandal from which it is still reeling: Platini’s interrogation by investigators again raises questions over the controversial decision to host the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, a small but wealthy Middle Eastern nation which lacks the infrastructure or sporting tradition of previous host countries. Qatari organisers have repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing in the bidding process: Whispers of foul play over the decision have been heard ever since the country was appointed hosts in 2010, and such allegations have been made more openly after the US Justice Department brought racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering charges against several senior figures within FIFA in 2015.
The ensuing scandal led to investigations being opened in several countries: “FIFA is aware of today’s press reports concerning Mr. Michel Platini,” a spokesperson for the body said. “We don’t have all the details about the matter (and) we are not in a position to comment further.”……………………”Generally speaking, FIFA reiterates 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,” the spokesperson added.
Concerns over temperatures in Qatar have since forced FIFA to move the tournament to the winter for the first time ever, while watchdogs have criticised the Qatari government’s human rights record, the country’s ban on homosexuality and the welfare of workers involved in preparing stadiums for the tournament: But calls to move the competition to a different country have so far been rebuffed. The tournament — the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East — is set to take place between 21 November and 18 December 2022, in eight locations in Qatar.
Former UEFA president Michel Platini denied wrongdoing during police questioning Tuesday following his arrest as part of a corruption probe into the vote that gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar: Platini, a former France national team great who became one of soccer’s most powerful administrators before being banned from the game, was placed in custody when summoned to the Judicial Police’s anti-corruption and financial crimes office outside Paris, a judicial official told The Associated Press, confirming a report by online news publication Mediapart: The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorised to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The 63-year-old Platini can either be released or formally charged after questioning ends: Platini’s communications team said he was also quizzed on the awarding of the 2016 European Championship to France, adding that he was “absolutely confident in the future” and has “strictly nothing to reproach himself for.”“Michel Platini expresses himself serenely and precisely, answering all the questions, including those on the conditions for the awarding of the 2016 Euro, and has provided useful explanations,” the statement said.
Platini’s communications team said the former France national team captain was placed in custody only for “technical reasons.” His lawyer, William Bourdon, explained that by holding him in custody, police investigators aimed to ensure that Platini and other witnesses couldn’t confer with each other about their testimonies: Platini helped France reach the World Cup semifinals in both 1982 and 1986, and he led his national team to the 1984 European Championship title……………He also played club soccer for Nancy and Saint-Etienne before a high-profile transfer to Italian club Juventus…………..He won three straight Ballon d’Or titles as the best player in Europe while playing for Juventus from 1983-85.
Also detained Tuesday was Sophie Dion, a former sports adviser of Nicolas Sarkozy when he was French president, the judicial official said. Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee under Sarkozy, was heard as a witness and not detained: French financial prosecutors have been investigating the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and previously questioned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter……………………..France’s financial prosecutor services opened the investigation on grounds of private corruption, criminal association, influence peddling and benefiting from influence peddling relating to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
FIFA said it is aware of Platini’s situation but declined to comment further on his case: Because of his position as president of UEFA, Platini was also a FIFA vice president.Much intrigue has centered on Platini’s decision to vote for Qatar: Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time of the vote in 2010, blamed Platini for backing out of a secret “gentleman’s agreement” to award the 2022 tournament to the United States……………..Platini told the AP in 2015 that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the United States bid…………….However, he changed his mind after a November 2010 meeting, hosted by then-president Sarkozy at his official residence in Paris and Qatar’s crown prince, now emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Platini has long insisted that the meeting did not influence his vote for Qatar less than two weeks later.“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he told the AP in 2015: But Blatter claimed in a 2015 interview with the Financial Times that Platini told him ahead of the World Cup 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.”……………..Both Platini and Blatter were toppled from their positions of power at the top of soccer in 2015.
#AceNewsDesk report ……………….Published: June.18: 2019:
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