Michel Platini defends his role amid renewed corruption claims

Uefa president insists Qatar’s bid was never mentioned in a meeting with Mohamed bin Hammam on eve of vote

Uefa president Michel Platini has come under scrutiny amid renewed corruption claims over Qatar’s bid for the 2022 World Cup.

The Uefa president, Michel Platini, insisted yesterday that Qatar's bid to host the 2022 World Cup was never mentioned in a meeting between him and the disgraced former Fifa vice-president, Mohamed bin Hammam, on the eve of the vote that secured the event for the tiny Gulf state.

The role of Platini has come under scrutiny amid renewed corruption claims over the Qatari's conduct in 2009 and 2010, when it was bidding for the World Cup and Bin Hammam was considering a challenge to Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency.

But Platini said it would be unusual for him not to meet a fellow executive committee member. At that stage Bin Hammam had not been accused of any wrongdoing. He later resigned from football after his bid to unseat Blatter was derailed by a string of bribery allegations.

The leader of European football, who has been open in admitting he backed the Gulf state, said Bin Hammam had been trying to persuade him to stand for president. Platini's meeting with then French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the now emir of Qatar before the vote has come under intense scrutiny


“I find it astonishing that conversations with a fellow member of the executive committee of Fifa could suddenly [be transformed] into a state plot,” he said. “I obviously met Mr Mohamed bin Hammam on many occasions in 2010 . . . the topic of the discussions was my candidature for the presidency of Fifa.”

Platini said Bin Hammam “was indeed trying to convince me to become a candidate for the 2011 presidential elections”. When he failed, Bin Hammam decided to run against Blatter himself.

Trade links

There are extensive trade links between France and Qatar, including the purchase of

Paris Saint-Germain

by Qatar Sports Investments, and in early 2012 Platini’s son Laurent was employed by a Qatari sportswear firm it also owned.

But Platini has consistently maintained that the decision was his alone and that he was not influenced. “No one ever dictates terms to me,” he said.

The chairman of Fifa's audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, told Bloomberg yesterday that the biggest risk to Fifa's integrity was "the executive committee and its members".

Platini is the only Fifa member to have made his votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups public — he voted for Russia and Qatar. “Additionally, I wish to reiterate that I am the only member of the FIFA executive committee who publicly stated for which bid I have voted – proof of my full transparency – and that no one ever dictates terms or conditions to me,” he said. Guardian service