PARIS: UEFA president Michel Platini has reiterated his role and subsequent stance over the award to Qatar of the 2022 World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
He has also indicated that world federation FIFA would stage the vote all over again if the ethics investigation revealed any hint of corruption.
The European federation chief is a vice-president of FIFA’s excutive committee which voted, on December 2, 2010, to award 2018 to Russia and then 2022 to the Middle East for the first time.
Platini is the only member of the exco who has stated that he voted for Qatar though he has denied that he was influenced by a meeting arranged shortly before the ballot by then President Nicolas Sarkozy with the Emir of Qatar.
Questioned again, on French television last night, Platini said: “The vote was to take the World Cup into a new region . . . the Arab world had lost seven times in a row in the bidding and it was important that it should have the World Cup.
“I was not leaned on. As far as I was concerned, my voting was undertaken in a transparent manner and it was always said that if there had been the slightest hint of corruption, there would be a new vote. Right now, we do not know.”
As for the hosting conditions, Platini added: “We have decided that maybe we should stage the finals in the winter would for which I had campaigned. I also campaigned to spread the finals throughout the Gulf states but then it was down to the politicians to decide.”
Platini’s interview coincided with the launch of his new book: Parlons Football.
FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia recently concluded a two-year inquiry into the bid scandal. Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert is expected to make a statement on the progress of the process early next month.