The Great Platini is now in prison

The Great Platini is now in prison

Sensational report from France shocked the world:  captain and leader of French national team of the first half of the 1980s, leading football player of Juventus, darling of millions, idol for football fans, Michel Platini has been arrested.

Michel Platini was detained in Nanterre, the largest suburb of Paris, as part of investigation into Qatar's selection as host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. According to Le Monde, 63-year-old former football player and former UEFA functionary was summoned to the local anti-corruption police department as a witness, and in the course of his testimony, Platini’s status was changed. Sophie Dion, who worked as adviser to the ex-President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, was arrested together with Platini. In addition, secretary general of Sarkozy's administration, Claude Gean, was summoned and questioned. But he was released after interrogation.

Police explained that the National Finance Prosecutor of France is investigating facts of active and passive bribery of persons who not working in public service. It's obvious that "big names" have surfaced during investigation. However, they surfaced even earlier, during a scandal involving FIFA President Joseph Blatter, who resigned at that time. That the hype reached Platini, and he also left his post as head of the UEFA. Prohibition to hold managing positions in the field football for eight years soon followed. But it seems that right now things are even more serious.

A few days before selection of the host country of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Platini met with representatives of the Qatar Football Federation in Switzerland. Allegedly, at the request of Nicolas Sarkozy. Law enforcement agencies have came up with questions he must answer. His fate will be decided depending on his answers.

In particular, law enforcers are especially interested in reception with participation of Nicolas Sarkozy, Michel Platini, current Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar Hamad Bin Jasim on November 23, 2010, at the Elysee Palace. It is assumed that on that evening, the issue of the 2022 World Cup was discussed and corresponding decisions were made. Perhaps other issues of political nature were also discussed.

In December of 2017, when Joseph Blatter became the main target of anti-corruption services, Platini gave testimony, in which he admitted that on December 2, 2010 (in other words, a week after meeting at the Elysee Palace), he voted for Qatar in elections of the host country of 2022 World Cup. At the same time, in the course of investigation, 2 million Swiss francs were found on Platini's bank account after a transfer made by Blatter. According to football officials, Platini received money for his work in FIFA in 1998-2002. However, they couldn't back up their statements with documents. And although Blatter and Platini, who worked as an advisor to the FIFA president before heading the UEFA, argued that verbal agreement was made, law enforcers didn't believe them. Blatter wanted to have his own man as the head of the UEFA, and 2 million helped to achieve this goal.

It's no secret that Blatter himself was openly lobbying for Qatar to become the host country of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It was unexpected for outside observers, but not for Blatter himself and several other informed people, byt the UEFA also assisted in resolving the issue during the voting. The United States, Australia, which also wanted to host the event, and Japan-Korea, who submitted joint application and have experience in co-hosting 2002 World Cup, received painful blow to their ego.

Officials explained decision to hold the tournament in Qatar by their policy of promotion of football in all continents. It was a bad explanation. From this point of view, the most promising countries are the US, bordering Canada and a bunch of small islands, which, like the US, are members of CONCAAF - regional football organization. Counterargument that the World Cup was already held in the United States in 1994 can't really be used, since the World Cup has never been held in Oceania, football regional organization of which is also on par with others in FIFA. If this argument was true, then it would be more appropriate for Australia to host the event, since it's a leader of the region and a country with decent stadiums.

So what about Platini, Sarkozy and others? It may be important to not that not so long ago, Football Leaks posted interesting information, according to which Nicolas Sarkozy asked Emir of Qatar to purchase Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and finance it so it would be on par with Spanish and British football giants in exchange for France's loyalty in the issue of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as well as help to launch sports channel BeIN Sports in France. But we shouldn't be to haste with guesses. Investigation promises to be completely transparent and reveal all details of this case.

We can only hope that the great football player Michel Platini's name won't be stained more than it already has been. It's a pity that footballer of planetary scale turned out to be a shallow, greedy man. Although he is not the first one, and certainly not the last

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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