NYON: UEFA president Michel Platini has denied having received a Picasso picture from the Russian team bidding to host the 2018 World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

A report at the weekend by The Sunday Times quoted an information-gathering database compiled by the rival England bid as having generated the allegation.

Platini was, and remains, a vice-president of world federation FIFA’s executive committee which voted in December 2010 on awards for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals.

Russia and Qatar were the respective winners in a process which was subject to a two-year investigation by FIFA’s independent ethics investigator Michael Garca. Possible disciplinary action is being considered by ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert.

Platini, president of European federation UEFA and who has not stated for which European bid he voted, has wasted no time in issuing a denial.

He said: “I would like to state that the allegations in The Sunday Times are totally fictitious and that the newspaper even recognises itself in its article that it has no evidence to justify this ridiculous rumour.”

The England gossip dossier dossier had been submitted to, and published by, the House of Commons media, culture and sports committee. This meant its allegations were protected from legal action by parliamentary privilege and – through this artifice – could thus be published by the newspaper.

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