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Former soccer boss held in Qatar World Cup probe

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 18, 2019 - Duration: 01:35s

Former soccer boss held in Qatar World Cup probe

French police are questioning Michel Platini, the former head of European soccer association UEFA, over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

It was a shock win for the tiny Gulf nation, and a corruption probe is underway.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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Former soccer boss held in Qatar World Cup probe

French police are questioning former European soccer boss Michel Platini over the awarding of the next World Cup to Qatar.

It was a shock decision -- and for the past couple of years France has led an investigation into whether foul play was involved.

The rich Gulf Arab nation lacks the sporting infrastructure and background of previous hosts.

It's extremely hot, has a tiny population and little local audience for the competition.

Yet it beat the United States and Australia to win the right to host in 2022.

Judicial sources say Platini, the former head of European football body UEFA, is in custody.

His lawyer said Platini is innocent and being questioned on technical grounds.

The French-led probe is looking into possible offences including private corruption, influence-peddling and conspiracy.

Le Monde newspaper reported prosecutors were looking into a lunch hosted by then President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.

It was nine days before the announcement that Qatar would host the cup, and both the Qatari prime minister and Platini were there.

Two of Sarkozy's aides at the time were also questioned by police on Tuesday (June 18), the sources confirmed.

Platini was forced to quit the UEFA top job after a probe into a payment he received from the world soccer governing body FIFA, It too has been beset by corruption scandals over the past few years.

Platini was cleared in that case.

Earlier in life, he was a top striker for French and Italian teams in the 70s and 80s, and played three world cups.

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