This is a statement that will once again revive the controversy over the conditions for awarding the World Cup to Qatar. According to Frenchman Jérôme Valcke, former secretary general of Fifa, the Europeans and in particular Michel Platini have tipped the scales in favor of the emirate. “I agree with (Sepp) Blatter (then president of Fifa, editor’s note): the European voters tipped the scales”, affirms, in an interview with Le Monde on Tuesday, Jérôme Valcke, questioned on the attribution of the World 2022 in Qatar and not in the United States, also candidates.
“I do not accuse (Nicolas) Sarkozy or Michel (Platini) of corruption, but there has clearly been a change of opinion among Europeans”, underlines the former secretary general of the International Federation. “There has been a turnaround, a sudden change in Michel which is linked to something. Either a realization that Qatar was the best candidate, or a lunch where all that was discussed. Before, Michel was pro-United States, ”assures Jérôme Valcke.
Valcke “has never been Michel Platini’s confidant”
Asked by AFP, Platini’s entourage said that the latter had “no reaction to the statements of Jérôme Valcke”. “These words belong to him and he is not and has never been Michel Platini’s confidant,” it was explained.
In his statements, Jérôme Valcke refers to a lunch on November 23, 2010, which would have brought together the French president at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy, Michel Platini and two senior Qatari leaders, Crown Prince Tamim ben Hamad al Thani – who became emir in June 2013 – and Hamad bin Jassem al Thani, then Prime Minister.
French justice has opened an investigation for “active and passive corruption” relating to the controversial awarding of the World Cup-2022 to Qatar and the lunch of November 23, 2010 is at the heart of the case. Nine days later, on December 2, 2010, the Gulf country was chosen to host the World Cup, by 14 votes to 8.
Michel Platini, who had voted for Qatar, was placed in police custody in 2019 in this case, before emerging free without any charge against him. Sepp Blatter was heard as a witness by French investigators in November 2021.