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  • A journalist takes a selfie with former head of European football association UEFA Michel Platini as Platini leaves a judicial police station where he was detained for questioning over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, in Nanterre

    A journalist takes a selfie with former head of European football association UEFA Michel Platini as Platini leaves a judicial police station where he was detained for questioning over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, in Nanterre | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 June 2019

Platini's lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent of all charges and was simply being questioned on "technical grounds."

Michel Platini, former head of European football association UEFA, has been taken Tuesday by French police for questioning over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament to Qatar.

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Platini's lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent of all charges and was simply being questioned on "technical grounds."

France's national financial prosecutor's office, which investigates economic crimes and corruption, has been leading a probe into the awarding in 2010, of the 2022 tournament to the Gulf emirate of Qatar. The prosecutor’s office is looking into possible transgressions including private corruption, collusion, and influence peddling.

"His lawyer, William Bourdon, would like to state as strongly as possible that this is not an arrest, but rather being heard as a witness by the investigators within a framework preventing those being questioned and heard from consulting each other during the process," a statement issued on behalf of Platini read.

FIFA, the world's football governing body, said it was aware of the reports concerning Platini, who is a former FIFA vice-president, but said it had no details on the investigation.

"FIFA 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," it said in a statement.

The decision in December 2010 to confer the World Cup to Qatar surprised many considering the lack of potential local audiences for the games, the extremely hot summer weather, and the poor performance of the country's national squad.

French newspaper Le Monde reported that prosecutors were specifically investigating a lunch hosted by France's then-president, Nicolas Sarkozy, nine days before the vote that awarded the cup to Qatar. Platini and Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani, who was Qatar's prime minister and is now the country's emir, were present at the lunch.

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