The Latest: Blatter says Paris meeting swayed vote for Qatar
PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the French investigation involving Michel Platini (all times local):
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he insisted for years that a meeting in Paris involving then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Michel Platini and Qatar’s future Emir swayed the 2022 World Cup vote for Qatar instead of the United States.
Blatter tells The Associated Press “it’s all detailed — what I always said” in two books he published since being ousted from FIFA.
Platini, who was UEFA president at the time, was detained Tuesday and questioned by French authorities investigating suspected corruption in the 2022 vote, held in December 2010.
Qatar beat the long-favored U.S. 14-8 in a final round of voting by a later-disgraced FIFA executive committee that included Blatter and Platini.
Two weeks earlier, Platini had been hosted by Sarkozy at the French presidential palace, and met senior Qatari officials.
Blatter says: “Platini phoned me and said, ‘Listen, president, our gentlemen’s agreement (for the U.S.) which we have made inside the FIFA executive committee will have difficulties to work.’”
In Blatter’s version, Platini and three other European voters switched their planned American support.
Michel Platini is in police custody under a French procedure known as “garde a vue.”
In the initial questioning period, he can be held for 24 hours without being formally charged. The time for holding a suspect can be prolonged to 48 hours, and even to 144 hours in terror-related cases.
At the end of questioning, Platini can either walk free or be presented to a judge that will decide whether to press charges.
Michel Platini has denied wrongdoing in the corruption case related to the vote that gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
His public relations team says the former UEFA president is “absolutely confident” and has “strictly nothing to reproach himself with.”
Platini was being questioned by police Tuesday after being arrested in a corruption probe of the vote that gave the tournament to Qatar. His PR team says Platini was also quizzed on the awarding of the 2016 European Championship to France.
The statement says “Michel Platini expresses himself serenely and precisely, answering all the questions, including those on the conditions for the awarding of Euro 2016, and has provided useful explanations.”
FIFA says it is committed to cooperating with investigations following the arrest of former UEFA president Michel Platini in France in relation to a corruption probe into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
FIFA says it is aware of reports concerning Platini but does not have the details of the French investigation.
As UEFA president, Platini was also a FIFA vice president and had a vote on World Cup hosts.
FIFA says it “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.”
A judicial official in France says former UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested in relation to a corruption probe into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Confirming a report by online news publication Mediapart, the official says Platini was taken into custody on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the awarding of the tournament. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.
Platini, a former France soccer great, was being detained at the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police outside Paris.
This story has been corrected to delete a reference to FIFA being “concerned” about Platini’s arrest.