19th June, 2019
Former UEFA chief, Michel Platini has been released by France’s national financial prosecutor’s office.
The legendary soccer star was arrested earlier Tuesday in connection with the awarding of 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting to Qatar. He was detained in a Paris suburb as part of a corruption probe into the awarding of the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar.
Platini’s legal team, led by William Bourdon, said his client was innocent of all charges and that he was being questioned on “technical grounds.
The detention of the former soccer star was first reported by French investigative website Mediapart.
France’s national financial prosecutor’s office, which specialises in investigating economic crimes and corruption, has been leading a probe into the awarding of the 2022 tournament to the Gulf emirate since 2016.
It is looking into possible offences including private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling.
“His lawyer, William Bourdon, would like to state as strongly as possible that this is not an arrest, but rather being heard as a witness by the investigators within a framework preventing those being questioned and heard from consulting each other during the process,” a statement issued on behalf of Bourdon and Platini read.
Officials with Qatar’s World Cup organising committee said they had no immediate comment.
FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, said it was aware of the reports concerning Platini, who is a former FIFA vice-president, but said it had no details on the investigation.
FIFA “reiterates its full commitment to cooperating with the authorities in any given country of the world where investigations are taking place in connection with football activities,” it said in a statement.
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 squad. It will be the first Arab state to host the competition.