The former Uefa president, Michel Platini, was released in the early hours of Wednesday after having been questioned over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Platini‘s lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent and that he had been questioned on “technical grounds.”
“It was very long, given the number of questions, it was obviously always going to be long, since they asked me questions over Euro 2016, the World Cup in Russia, the World Cup in Qatar, Paris Saint Germain, Fifa,” Platini told reporters on Wednesday as he left the police station where he had been detained. “I arrived and was immediately taken into custody. It hurts. It hurts for everything I can think of, everything I’ve done. It hurts, it hurts.
“But after all, they did their job and then we tried to answer all the questions. I replied to all the questions calmly, whilst still not knowing why I was there. It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different,” Platini said, adding that he felt “at peace.”
“I feel totally foreign to any of these matters. This is an old affair, you know it, we explained it. I have always expressed myself with full transparency in all the newspapers. That’s it, it goes on, they investigate, they search.”
Also detained for questioning and later released was Sophie Dion, a sports adviser in the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration. Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysée presidential palace under Sarkozy, was questioned as a free witness and not detained.
The decision in December 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar surprised many given the lack of potential local audiences for the games, the extremely hot summer weather, and the poor performance of the country’s national team. But the gas-rich nation is pouring billions into the world’s most popular sport and has the means to finance new stadiums. It will be the first Arab state to host the competition.