Michel Platini was arrested for assigning the World Cup in Qatar

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Date of publication: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 1:18

Former UEFA President Michel Platini was arrested for questioning by the French police about the assignment of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The French financial prosecutor confirmed to the Press Association Sport that 63-year-old Platini had been arrested.

Platini, who never denied voting for Qatar, but has always rejected any wrongdoing, was detained in a suburb of Paris on Tuesday morning.

The Parquet National Financier is investigating the December 2010 decision to organize the biggest football tournament in the small but rich Gulf state since 2016.

Qatar has beaten offers from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States in a vote by the executive committee of FIFA, the governing body of world football, but more than half of that group of 22 men has been accused of receiving bribes.

Platini was head of the European football governing body until 2015 when he was given a ban on eight years of ethical violations, which was subsequently reduced to four years on appeal.

The ban expires this October and previously suggested that it intends to return to football policy.

Platini and former head of FIFA Sepp Blatter were banned for eight years by the FIFA ethics committee in December 2015, although a FIFA appeal body reduced it to six years, for an "unfair payment" of 1.5 million pounds paid by Blatter to Platini.

The couple then presented separate appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which confirmed Blatter's sanction, but cut Platini another two years. Blatter has always denied any wrongdoing.

The French authorities also arrested Sophie Dion, former adviser to the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and questioned Claude Gueant, former chief of staff of Sarkozy.

Sarkozy's support for the Qatar World Cup nomination has been the subject of considerable speculation for several years and it is understood that the French authorities want to know what promises were made during a lunch at the Elysee Palace of the French premier on 23 November 2010 – 10 days before the FIFA vote

At that lunch they were Platini, Sarkozy, the emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al Thani and the former prime minister of Qatar and foreign minister Sheikh Hamad Ben Jassim.

It is no secret that Sarkozy was eager to foster close economic ties with Qatar, but the investigation is also examining the June 2011 agreement that saw Qatar's sovereign wealth finance the leader's favorite football team French, Paris St Germain, and the subsequent launch of BeIN Sports, the Doha-based communications company run by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Al-Khelaifi has denied any wrongdoing.

Platini had a brilliant career as a player, winning the 1984 European Championship with France and also the championship titles in France and Italy with St Etienne and Juventus. He won the Golden Ball in three successive seasons from 1983 to 1985.

UEFA refused to comment on Platini's detention when she was contacted by Press Association Sport.

A FIFA spokesman said: "FIFA reaffirms its full commitment to cooperate with the authorities of every country in the world where investigations are carried out in relation to football activities".

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