French anti-corruption listens to Blatter about voting for Qatar in the 2022 World Cup


French anti-corruption police have investigated former FIFA President Sepp Blatter over the controversial vote that awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

French police said Blatter, 85, was called to appear as a “witness” on Thursday and Friday, confirming a report in Le Monde newspaper.

The investigation is led by a unit of the French Anti-Corruption Commission.

Part of the investigation centers on a dinner on November 23, 2009, nine days before the vote, at the Elysee Palace hosted by then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

And sat around the table that night, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who became the Emir of Qatar after his father, Sheikh Hamad abdicated the throne in 2013, the then Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, and Michel Platini, then President of the European Football Association.

It is suspected that Platini voted for Qatar at Sarkozy’s request, which he denies.

The vote of the former French footballer helped bring Qatar 14 votes to eight votes for the United States on December 2 in Zurich.

Platini was questioned by French police over this case in 2019 without charge.

He said in a recent issue of “Le Monde” newspaper that he made his decision to vote for Qatar “very early” and without any pressure from Sarkozy.

Investigators are also looking into a $300 million contract with a $100 million bonus to FIFA that would award television rights for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 in Qatar to a Qatari station.

The investigation session with Blatter was held at the Swiss Attorney General’s Office in Zurich and was part of the legal process to investigate the vote for Qatar that was opened by the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office.

The Swiss was forced to step down as president of FIFA in 2015 and was punished by the Continental Confederation with an 8-year ban, then later reduced to 6 years, due to ethical violations after it was found that he had allowed the payment of two million euros to the former European Union president and former football star Platini.

Qatar was a surprising winner against strong candidates such as the United States.

In addition to the French police investigations, similar investigations are taking place in the United States and Switzerland.


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