Michel Platini was 'hurt' by detention and Qatar World Cup questioning

  • ‘It hurts for everything I can think of, everything I’ve done’
  • Platini released and lawyer says his client is innocent

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.”

The 2022 Fifa World Cup will take place 21 November-18 December 2022. It is the 22nd time the tournament has been staged, and the first time that the football World Cup has been held outside its traditional slot of June and July. Qatar is the smallest nation ever to host the World Cup.

The tournament will feature 32 teams. Qatar qualify automatically as hosts, and will be playing in their debut World Cup finals. Qualification for the tournament concludes in March 2022, and the draw is due to take place in April 2022.

While the match schedule is yet to be confirmed, the World Cup is expected to take place in eight stadiums in five cities: Doha, Lusail, Al Khor, Al Rayyan and Al Wakrah.

Awarding the tournament to Qatar has been mired in controversy. Qatar’s bid won despite the country’s climate being too hot to host the tournament at the time specified in the bidding manual. Of the 22 people who voted in awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December 2010, several including Sepp Blatter, Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Chuck Blazer, Rafael Salguero and Michel Platini have either been banned from football or indicted on corruption charges.

 Additionally there have been concerns over human rights abuses of construction workers building the new stadiums needed for the bid, and campaigners have criticised hosting the World Cup in a country where LGBT relationships are banned.

“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.

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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.


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