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Platini arrested as part of the investigation into the 2022 World Cup

PARIS (AP) – Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested for opening an investigation into corruption over the award of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, said Tuesday a judicial officer.

Confirming a report released by the Mediapart online press, the official said Platini was arrested on Tuesday as part of the tournament's attribution inquiry. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Platini, a former French footballer, was detained at the office of the judicial anti-corruption police near Paris.

Sophie Dion, former sports adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy while she was French president, was also arrested Tuesday for interrogation. Claude Gueant, former Secretary General of the Elysee under Sarkozy, was interviewed by investigators as a witness and was not arrested.

French prosecutors have investigated the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and have already interviewed former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The services of the French prosecutor opened the investigation for private corruption, criminal conspiracy, influence peddling and trading in influence over the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded respectively to Russia and Qatar.

Platini's lawyer and advisor did not immediately respond to Associated Press messages requesting comment.

Platini's decision to vote for Qatar has sparked a lot of intrigue.

Blatter, who was FIFA's president at the vote in 2010, blamed Platini for giving up a secret "gentleman's agreement" to award the 2022 tournament to the United States.

Platini told AP in 2015 that he "could have said" to US officials that he would vote for the United States candidacy. However, he changed his mind after a meeting held in November 2010 by the then president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in his official residence in Paris and the Crown Prince of Qatar, the current Emir, Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani.

Platini has long insisted that the meeting had not influenced 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 AP in 2015.

But Blatter said in an interview with the Financial Times in 2015 that Platini had told him before the vote on the World Cup: "I'm no longer in your picture because the head of state has me said that we should consider the situation of France. "

Platini and Blatter were both overthrown at the top of football in 2015. Platini was banned by FIFA for financial misconduct due to a $ 2 million payment allowed by Blatter – a suspension expiring in October .

Qatar's methods of organizing the World Cup in the Middle East for the first time have been investigated by FIFA. US lawyer Michael Garcia said some of Qatar's actions "may not have met the standards" imposed by FIFA, but concluded that there is "no evidence of unlawful activity on the part of FIFA". the bid team. "


Rob Harris, writer at AP Global Soccer in Nice, France, contributed to this report.


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