Qatar 2022: Platini drawn into Fifa World Cup bribe scandal

Jun 3, 2014

Claims that Uefa president, who voted for Qatar in 2010, was 'personally lobbied' by Bin Hammam


France has become the first European nation to be drawn into the World Cup bribery scandal with allegations that Michel Platini had what the Daily Telegraph describes as a "private discussion" with Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari former Fifa official who allegedly paid millions of pounds to football officials around the world. 

Platini, a former captain of France and the current president of Uefa, is alleged to have met Bin Hammam shortly before Qatar were awarded the 2022 World Cup by Fifa in a 2010 vote. According to the Telegraph Bin Hammam "personally lobbied Mr Platini to support the Emirate's bid", and the Frenchman has never made any secret of the fact he voted for Qatar.

He has also been one of the leading supporters behind the idea of breaking with tradition and staging the 2022 World Cup in the northern hemisphere winter in order to avoid the dangerous heat of a Qatari summer.

An executive committee member told the Daily Telegraph that they are "shocked" by the disclosure of the meeting, which for the first time implicates a European nation in a scandal which hitherto has involved just African and Caribbean countries.

Platini has yet to respond to the allegations but they will be a major embarrassment to an ambitious man who has been mooted as a possible successor to Sepp Blatter, the controversial president of Fifa who intends to stand for re-election later this year.

Hours before the story about Platini's meeting with Bin Hammam broke, the Telegraph had reported that Uefa intended to stage a sit-down protest against Blatter's decision to put his name forward for re-election as Fifa president at its annual congress in Sao Paulo later this month. The Telegraph reported that the 78-year-old Blatter was "expected to declare his candidacy in a speech to Fifa's 209 members, reneging on a promise to step down when his fourth term in office expires next summer". That has allegedly enraged the 54 members from Uefa, including the Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, and the Telegraph says that Platini,  Blatter's "arch rival", was due to lead the protest.

Ironically, given the subsequent revelations about the Frenchman, the Telegraph reported that "Platini and other senior figures within European football's governing body believe regime change is the only way to restore Fifa's battered image" following the drip-drip of allegations over the vote for the 2022 World Cup.

If the allegations levelled at Platini have any truth in them his standing in the game could suffer irreparable damage. It would also embolden Blatter and make it almost certain that the ageing Swiss would win a fifth term in office.

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Mr. Platini,

There is one thing for sure. You
openly admitted that you promised the Qatar Emirate to change to Winter World
Cup before the voting process. Why? When Qatar kept saying before the voting
(and has been saying after the voting) that they can overcome the heat
(weather) issue, you made such a promise (agreement). Why?

Why you promised when you knew that
it was a high risking task to hold the tournament in Qatar in summer? There is
no reasonable explanation. Unless, something had to be covered. Why that something
had to be covered?

I just don't understand why a guy as
stupid can be the head of UEFA. Should the journalist ask you why you vote the
Qatar, all you need to say is:"...I believe Qatar can overcome the heat
problem like what they say in the tender document..." However, you chose
to disclose a secret deal: promising to change to winter later.

It is alright that you are still the
head of UEFA. However, you want to reach the top, the FIFA top. That is why all
those still have a bit of conscience are trying to bring you down. As a head of
UEFA you make a mess. So, if you will be the head of FIFA, the sky falls.

Nobody on the FIFA executive is untainted,everybody should be forced to stand for 're-election and the fans should have several representatives.