The 2022 World Cup, steeped in controversy, finally opened in Qatar on Sunday. All of those who, through multiple dealings and arrangements, accepted or promoted its hosting by the Gulf state, have an enormous amount to answer for over their responsibility for the consequences, notably the deaths of thousands of migrant construction workers, an environmental disaster and political scandal. Michaël Hajdenberg presents a brief analysis of what we know of the dark background to the tournament.
A joint investigation by The Sunday Times and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported that a group of Indian hackers were hired to spy on journalists and other individuals “who threatened to expose wrongdoing” over the awarding to Qatar of this year’s football World Cup. Among the “dozen” people reported to have been targeted are former UEFA president Michel Platini, French senator Nathalie Goulet, and Mediapart journalist Yann Philippin. Qatar denies any involvement in the hacking operation. Fabrice Arfi and Michaël Hajdenberg report.
Swiss prosecution services have ordered former French football star and ex-president of UEFA, Michel Platini, and former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, to stand trial over an allegedly fraudulent 1.8-million-euro payment made to Platini by the latter in 2011, a move that has yet to be approved by a federal court.
In an ongoing judicial investigation in France into suspected corruption surrounding the awarding of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar, evidence seized at the Paris offices of US firm Colony Capital suggests a well-remunerated post handed to Laurent Platini, son of former football star and UEFA president Michel Platini, by Qatari sovereign fund QSI may have been linked to its purchase of French football club PSG. The probe is focused on a crucial lunch meeting at the Élysée Palace in 2010 hosted by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and attended among others by Michel Platini and the then crown prince of Qatar. Yann Philippin unravels a complex case involving heads of state, business, diplomacy and arrangements behind closed doors.
Mediapart has learnt that the prosecution authorities in Switzerland are investigating the former French football star and ex-head of European football body UEFA Michel Platini for alleged fraud over a 1.8 million euro payment he received in 2011. That payment was made by Sepp Blatter, then head of world football's governing body FIFA, who also faces a similar probe. Yann Philippin reports.
French police phone tap transcripts seen by Mediapart reveal that former football star Michel Platini, who served for eight years as head of the sport’s European governing body UEFA, and who is at the centre of separate investigations in France and Switzerland into corruption and fraud, claimed he had been offered “help” with his legal situation by President Emmanuel Macron. In March 2018, Platini met with the French president at the Élysée Palace when, according to a French journalist and friend of the former France international who was also present, his legal affairs were discussed. The Élysée, meanwhile, has denied any interference with the justice system.
by Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg, Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget
Key documents seen by Mediapart shed new light on the award of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar. The documents, written to then French president Nicolas Sarkozy by his sports advisor, relate to a lunch that took place at the Élysée Palace in 2010, just days before the crucial vote to decide the tournament’s host country. They reveal that the then boss of European football ruling body UEFA, Michel Platini, had been “reluctant” to back the Gulf state, but had been convinced to switch his vote to it by the end of the meeting with the French president and key figures from Qatar. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.
In June 2019 Michel Platini, the former head of European football's governing body UEFA, was interviewed by police as a witness over the circumstances of the award of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar. Two former colleagues of Nicolas Sarkozy were also questioned about a lunch hosted for Qatar's crown prince by the French president in 2010, attended by Platini, just days before the controversial vote to give the tournament to the oil and gas-rich state. Now the French financial crimes prosecution unit has launched a judicial investigation into the affair over alleged “corruption”, Mediapart has learnt. Former French football star Platini has strongly denied any wrongdoing. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.
Former UEFA boss Michel Platini was held in custody by anti-corruption police in Paris on Tuesday questioning, along with a former advisor to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and Sarkozy's close aide and former minister Claude Guéant, as part of investigations into the controversial attribution to Qatar of the 2022 football World Cup in a vote by FIFA officials in 2010.
Over several years, Qatar injected 1.8 billion euros into French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in a massive breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations of European association football’s governing body UEFA. Mediapart reveals here the background to the affair and how the then president of UEFA, Michel Platini, and his secretary general, Gianni Infantino, who is now president of FIFA, helped cover up the fraud, allowing the club to escape exclusion from the prestigious and lucrative Champions League.