Former Uefa president Michel Platini has been released by French anti-corruption investigators after being questioned over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Platini, 63, was head of European football’s governing body until being banned in 2015 for ethics breaches. The former France midfielder and three-time Ballon d’Or winner has always denied any wrongdoing.
Qatar beat bids from USA, Australia, South Korea and Japan in 2010. Platini was taken into custody and questioned in Nanterre, a suburb in western Paris, on Tuesday.
He was released from custody later that night.
“It was long but considering the number of questions, it could only be long, since I was asked about Euro 2016, the World Cup in Russia, the World Cup in Qatar, Fifa,” said Platini.
Officials have been investigating alleged corruption connected to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups for the past two years and were reported to have interviewed Sepp Blatter, the former president of world governing body Fifa, in 2017.
In a statement, Platini’s lawyers reiterated he had not been arrested and had “expressed himself serenely and precisely, answering all the questions, including those on the conditions for the awarding of Euro 2016, and has provided useful explanations”.
They added: “He has nothing to do with this event which doesn’t concern him at all. He is absolutely confident about what’s next.”
Fifa said it was aware of Platini’s questioning, but added it was “not in a position to comment further”.
Platini was banned over a 2m Swiss francs (£1.3m) “disloyal payment” from Blatter, who was also banned from football for his part in the matter. Blatter has also always denied any wrongdoing.
Platini’s eight-year ban was later reduced to four on appeal and will expire in October 2019.
Qatar’s bid team has been previously accused of corruption, but was cleared following a two-year Fifa inquiry.
However, former Football Association chairman Greg Dyke told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup was a “bizarre” one.
“I think anyone who was involved in that decision has to be questioned because it was such a bizarre decision,” he said.
“It was against the advice of their own technical committee, who said they didn’t think it would be safe – and as we now know they have had to move it to the winter to make it safe. And Qatar didn’t meet all sorts of criteria, so it was always a very odd decision.
“I like Michel Platini. I thought he was a good leader for Uefa and he was a very likeable, charismatic man.
“In some ways it’s sad that this is being dragged up again but if you look at the wider picture of why was that World Cup awarded to Qatar, there are still so many questions to be answered.”