No case opened against Platini in World Cup probe: French police

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The 63-year-old was released from custody late on Tuesday after being questioned by anti-corruption police [Charles Platiau/Reuters]

Former UEFA president Michel Platini will not face formal legal proceedings in an ongoing French probe into the awarding of the football World Cup to Qatar.

The 63-year-old was released from custody late on Tuesday after being questioned by anti-corruption police into possible offences including private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling.

French authorities are investigating an alleged lunch meeting between the powerful football administrator, French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ahead of the 2010 vote.

FIFA, the world governing body for football, has previously investigated the award of the World Cup to Qatar but did not find evidence of improper behaviour.

News agency AFP quoted Platini as saying he faced “a multitude of questions”, not only over the Qatar 2022 issue, but also the 2018 tournament in Russia awarded on the same day in 2010, Euro 2016 in France and FIFA in general.

“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 as he left the police station outside Paris where he had been detained.

“I replied to all the questions calmly, while still not knowing why I was there,” he added.

Former French captain Platini, who voted for Qatar in 2010, has long denied any wrongdoing. His counsel William Bourdon insisted Platini had not been arrested but rather underwent “a hearing as a witness in the context desired by the investigators”.

Platini was suspended by the FIFA ethics committee in 2015 for receiving a “disloyal payment” of $2m from the then FIFA president Joseph Blatter.

Platini is one of France’s most famous sportsmen and football stars. He led France to victory in the 1984 European Championship and played in two World Cup semi-finals.

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