Michel Platini could be in hot water ahead of the upcoming FIFA presidential vote in February 2016.
[ MORE: FIFA scandal latest from FBI, Swiss ]
In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday ahead of a FIFA executive committee meeting in Zurich, Platini revealed that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the USA’s 2022 World Cup bid but then changed his mind and voted for Qatar after a meeting in Paris with the President of France and leading Qatari officials.
Below is an excerpt from the AP’s story on these new revelations regarding one of the FIFA presidential candidates and the current head of UEFA, European soccer’s governing body.
However, Platini’s critics have often accused the Frenchman of putting politics before football, especially when he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup weeks after meeting with then-France President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Platini acknowledged that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the rival United States bid. However, he changed his mind after the November 2010 meeting, hosted by Sarkozy at his official residence in Paris and also attended by senior Qatari officials. Platini said it was not anything prearranged.
“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he said, smiling.
Well, Sarkozy having senior Qatari officials at a meeting attended by Platini and that last comment about “I knew what would be good” certainly isn’t helping out the case of the French national team legend. He has repeatedly stated his desire to separate politics from soccer if he is voted in as Sepp Blatter’s successor when the long-time FIFA president is replaced early next year. Blatter announced in June that he will resign after 17 years in charge of the organization which was rocked by the FBI-led charges that released details in May of over $150 million worth of corruption over a period spanning nearly two decades.
[ MORE: Mourinho – “Retaliation now allowed” ]
Platini, 60, has been a long-term friend of Blatter and has received plenty of attention in the past after his son was handed a job in Qatar after the voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup process.
Many are pointing towards Platini’s closeness to Blatter, and many of the other high-ranking FIFA officials who have been caught up in the recent U.S. and Swiss investigations into alleged widespread corruption, as a strong reason why federations should not vote for him in the next presidential election.
Comments like these from Platini will only strengthen that argument.