In Brief

Michel Platini detained over Qatar World Cup bid

Former Uefa boss subject of French investigation into alleged corruption related to Fifa’s decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Former Uefa president Michel Platini has been taken into custody as part of a French corruption investigation relating to the decision to award the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar.

Platini had been serving a four-year ban from football since 2015, over a $2 million (£1.5 million) “disloyal payment” he received from Blatter.

The Guardian says his detention “represents the first substantial public move” in an investigation into the 2022 decision opened two years ago by France’s Parquet National Financier, which is responsible for law enforcement against serious financial crime.

According to judicial sources, the PNF is investigating possible “private corruption”, “criminal conspiracy” and “influence peddling and trading in influence” over the December 2010 vote to award the World Cup to Qatar.

BBC sports editor Dan Roan says “it is understood [questions] will focus on a lunch Platini attended in Paris just days before that hugely controversial vote in 2010, with the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy at his official residence and the Qatari head of state”.

“It has long been suspected that the prospect of important bilateral trade deals between the two nations, and the subsequent Qatari takeover of Paris St-Germain may have been used as leverage to get Sarkozy’s support” he adds.

The Sun says that “in news that will rock football in France” Claude Gueant, a close adviser to former French president Nicolas Sarkosy, has also been questioned as a “free suspect”, while another adviser to Sarkozy during his presidency, Sophie Dion, has been detained.

“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,” says CNN.

Suspicion of foul play over the decision have long dogged Qatar and in 2015 the US Justice Department brought racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering charges against several senior figures within Fifa.

Concerns over the summer heat in the Gulf state, where temperatures can top 50C, forced Fifa to move the tournament to winter for the first time ever, a move which will seriously impact European domestic leagues. Meanwhile human rights groups have criticsed the Qatari government’s record, its ban on homosexuality and its safety record which has seen a record number of workers involved in stadium construction killed.

But “given how much time has now passed since the 2010 vote, and how much has changed at Fifa, there seems no real prospect that this latest development could affect Qatar's status as hosts, even if Platini is charged,” says Roan.

It means to the tournament - the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East – is set to go ahead as planned in November 2022.

Recommended

Uefa conference call: what’s on the agenda?
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin
In Brief

Uefa conference call: what’s on the agenda?

Jamal Musiala: the one that got away for England
Jamal Musiala celebrates his goal for Bayern against Lazio in the Champions League
Why we’re talking about . . .

Jamal Musiala: the one that got away for England

‘Faster path to freedom’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Faster path to freedom’

Woman has to hide her pre-Covid tattoo
Mask tattoo
Tall Tales

Woman has to hide her pre-Covid tattoo

Popular articles

Budget predictions: what will Rishi Sunak announce?
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak poses with the Budget Box outside 11 Downing Street
Why we’re talking about . . .

Budget predictions: what will Rishi Sunak announce?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 Feb 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 Feb 2021

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021