Michel Platini protests innocence after arrest amid investigation into Qatar World Cup..

By Mirror: Wednesday, June 19th 2019 at 12:49 GMT +3 | Football
Former UEFA President Michel Platini [Courtesy]

Michel Platini has protested his innocence after the former UEFA president was held for questioning over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Platini, who has never denied voting for Qatar but has always rejected any claims of wrongdoing, was detained in a suburb of Paris on Tuesday morning.

The Parquet National Financier has been investigating the December 2010 decision to stage football's biggest tournament in the small but wealthy Gulf state since 2016.

Qatar beat bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States in a vote by the executive committee of world football's governing body FIFA, but more than half of that 22-man panel have now been accused of receiving bribes.

Platini released a statement on Tuesday afternoon in which his lawyer, William Bourdon, said his client was innocent of all charges and he was co-operating with all inquiries.

A statement read: "Michel Platini, after being heard in the same investigation in open court last year, is now questioned under the regime of custody for technical reasons.

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"His counsel, Mr William Bourdon, strongly asserts that this is in no way an arrest, but a hearing as a witness in the context desired by the investigators, a framework that prevents all persons heard, then confronted, cannot confer outside the procedure.

“Michel Platini expresses himself serenely and precisely, answering all the questions, including those on the conditions for the awarding of Euro 2016, and has provided useful explanations.”

“He has nothing to reproach himself with and claims to be totally foreign to facts the go beyond him.

“He is absolutely confident about what’s next.”

Platini was head of European football's governing body until 2015 when he was handed an eight-year ban over ethics breaches that was later reduced to four years on appeal.

The ban expires this October and he has previously suggested he intends to return to football politics.

Platini and former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter were banned for eight years by FIFA's ethics committee in December 2015, although a FIFA appeal body reduced that to six years, for a "disloyal payment" of £1.5million paid by Blatter to Platini.

The pair then made separate appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which upheld Blatter's sanction but cut a further two years off Platini's. Blatter has always denied any wrongdoing.

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